Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Interview with Ann Rowles

Comic Relief
Crocheted mixed fibers, vinyl tubing, found plastic objects

1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background

I am an artist, wife, mother, grandmother and sometimes teacher. I grew up in Hickory, North

Carolina and attended both the Greensboro and the Chapel Hill branches of the University of

NC. I received my MFA in Sculpture from UNC-CH in 1990. We moved to Atlanta in 1995.

2. What's integral to your art and or art career?

I am a 70's feminist. When I was living in San Francisco I read articles and saw work by women

artists; the revelation that I could make artwork about my own life, observations, and

experiences was overwhelming. After returning to NC I found the women artists who formed

"Center/Gallery." I was allowed to exhibit work which would not have been shown otherwise.

This freedom and support allowed me to grow and develop. My "career" has been up and

down, peaking in North Carolina in the nineties, but I have continued to make art, which is what

matters to me.

3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?

My work concerns the juncture of body, psyche, history, and society. I am work in whatever

material suits the idea and my situation in life. When I was a young mother I used broken toys;

in grad school I felt the need to work big, fast, and "in your face" so I made over-life-size chicken

wire sculptures of empty clothing which retained the shape of the absent body - big, fat and

female. When my elderly mother was in decline I began to crochet my sculptures, so I could do

my work in hospital rooms and doctor's offices.

4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?

The mistreatment of people, animals, or the environment make me angry and sad. My

grandson, family and friends give me hope and make me happy. I'm crazy when I can't make


5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?

My aesthetics did a flip flop when I saw the work of Egon Schiele on a high school trip to New

York. Later I was influenced by Edward Kienholz. When I began to see and read about women

artists, I found an artist soulmate in Louise Bourgeois. I love discovering women artists past

and present. Real life mentors were the women of Center/Gallery, as well as artists Scott

Burton, Kate Erickson and Mel Zeigler, and Faith Ringgold.

6. What superpower would you want?


7. What is your favorite artists and or other person?

Too many to list!

8. What advice would you give to other artists?

Listen to your gut; teachers and curators have their own agendas. Don't forget to play or be

afraid to fail. Stretch. Keep working, however slowly.

9. Contact details if any? (those you are willing to have in the newsletter and on blog)

My website is, but it is badly in need of updating!

I am on Facebook and my email is


  1. Nice interview, Ann. I liked your answers...from the gut as you say. Nice photo of "Comic Relief"-so full of joy and acrobatics...maybe like an afternoon with little Afton.

  2. I have just taken the time after all of my recent craziness to read this. Thanks for your honest answers, Ann, and the overview of things important to you and inspiring to your art. I love your Superpower! You have had a challenging year and I surely hope your art making can resume and you continue strong!