Stephen Bowers


Stephen Bowers

Exotic Birds and Strange Fruit ceramic 47.5cm diameter / 4cm deep

Stephen Bowers is known for richly decorated ceramics which reflect his interest in aspects of craft traditions, natural history, memory and commentary. He has participated in numerous exhibitions within Australia and overseas, including the UK, USA, Norway, Italy, Denmark and China

I create works that sometimes useful but always decorative. I am interested in the ability to look back and recontextualise stories, interpret meanings and examine the legacy of traditions

As well as studying Australian urban landscape I look at its biological and zoological information and explore Australia’s diverse and multiform human culture. I am interested in imagining possible histories and in bringing together unexpected conjunctions of ideas and images

I treat ceramics as a blank canvass upon which I can create pictures, working with unusual decorative techniques more often encountered outside of the familiar patch of the potter. A lot of my images arise in spontaneous ways – a sort of improvised “stream of (un)consciousness”

I am interested in skills and techniques – particularly the traditional ceramic arts and crafts of the Orient and Europe. I admire their ability to communicate. Their achievements in turn inform my own work

As an appreciator of creative skill, I try to create fine, resolved detail and striking images. I hope to intrigue and surprise the viewer who looks at my work more than once

Stephen Bowers

Stephen Bowers in Wall Street Journal

By Mieke ten Have
Aug. 1, 2017 12:56 p.m. ET
Photo: Jessica Backhaus for WSJ. Magazine

Contemporary Artists Give Centuries-Old Ceramics a Modern Twist
Starting in the 16th century, international trade began to leave its traces on tableware as European and Asian ceramics were created for newly opened export markets. Contemporary artists are now mining the rich heritage of these styles

State of Clay
Australian artist Stephen Bowers’s Camouflage Plate blends “shards” inspired by iconic English and French textile design, early maps and his own depictions of the natural world, making historical references—in this case an 18th-century struggle over Australian territory—while pointing to current society’s fragmentation from nature. Camouflage Plate, by Stephen Bowers

Stephen Bowers in Europe

Stephen Bowers was recently included in a group exhibition ALICE IN WONDERLAND at the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark with this “chess set”, and was also part of its condensed version which went to Officine Saffi in Milan

Stephen Bowers CV

1973 Diploma in Teaching, Alexander Mackie CAE Sydney
1982-85 Traineeship & access residency, Ceramics Workshop, JamFactory SA
1986 Bachelor of Education, Underdale CAE
1989 Appointed to Visual Art, Craft and Design Advisory Board SA Department of Arts
1991-99 Head, Ceramics Studio, Jam Factory SA
1999–2004 Senior Development Officer Arts SA
2004 Managing Director, JamFactory Contemporary Craft & Design, Adelaide

Solo Exhibitions

2011, 2008, 1997, 1994, 1989, 1987 Robin Gibson Gallery
2010, 1998, 1995, 1994 Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne
1988 Indigenous Gallery, Melbourne
1986, 1983 Jam Factory, Adelaide

Selected Group Exhibitions

2007 Collect, the international art fair for contemporary objects, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
2006 In Your Face, contemporary graphic design exhibition, Sydney Design 06 Festival, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
2005 Waterhouse Natural History Prize, South Australian Museum, Adelaide
2005 Jam Factory Biennale 2005, Jam Factory, Adelaide
2004 Drawing Today Adelaide Central Gallery
2003 The Vitrified Image, Hyde Gallery, El Cajon, San Diego, USA (NCECA)
2003 Decorative Art Survey, Lauraine Diggins Gallery, Melbourne
2002 Det Dansende Vaerktoj, Museum of International Ceramic Art, Denmark
2001 Auriferous, Bathurst Regional Gallery
2000 The Plate Show, Collins Gallery Glasgow, Scotland, UK
2000 Modern Ceramics, Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles, USA
1999 Mostra Della Lustro, Gubbio Italy
1998 SOFA, Chicago, USA
1988 Australia China Council Travelling Exhibition, China
1988 Studio Fifty, London
1987 Eltham Art Award Exhibition
1987 Craft Purchase Exhibition, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmania
1986 Meat Market Craft Expo, Melbourne
1986 Museums and Galleries Acquisition Exhibition, Darwin
1986 Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat
1985 National Teapot Exhibition, The Old Bakery Gallery, Sydney
1985 Australian Motif Exhibition, Craft Council Gallery, Sydney
1984 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney
1983 Jam Factory, Adelaide
1982 Elmswood Fine Art Gallery
1979 Whyalla DFE College Gallery


2006 Australia Council/Craftsouth Mentorship program
2006 Gordon Darling Foundation travel grant
2005 VACB (Australia Council) Leadership grant for international research
2002 Commendation, Cowra Festival Art Award, NSW
2002 Acquisitive Award, Stanthorpe Art Gallery, Qld
2002 Australia CouncilVACD Grant – Studio Residency in Italy
2002 Euro Chocolate, Gualdo Tadino, National Collection, Perugia, Italy
2001 National Ceramics Acquisitive Award, Perc Tucker Gallery, Townsville
1997 VACF Studio (Australia Council) Residency, Barcelona, Spain
1996 National Craft Acquisition Award, Alice Springs
1995 Awarded a British Council Sponsored Study Tour of Britain
1992 Commendation in the RAIA (SA Chapter) Art & Architecture Awards for Regent Arcade
1991 Tenth National Gold Coast Ceramic Award
1987 National Teapot Exhibition, Award for Overall Excellence
1985 National Teapot Exhibition, Melrose Award Winner


Art Gallery of South Australia
Artbank, Sydney
Arulen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Bathurst Regional Gallery, NSW
City of Box Hill Collection, Victoria
CIAK, National Collection, Perugia, Italy
City of Whitehorse Art Collection, Victoria
Craft Victoria Collection
Geelong Art Gallery & Museum, Victoria
Gold Coast Council Collection, Qld
Inglewood Ceramic Collection, South Australia
Janet Holmes a Court Collection, Perth
Kumagai (Australian) Collection
Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art
Manly Museum & Art Gallery, Sydney
Museum of International Ceramic Art, Denmark
Museums and Art Galleries of NT, Darwin
National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Parliament House, Canberra, ACT
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville Qld
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
Shepparton Regional Gallery, Shepparton, Victoria
Sly & Weigall, Sydney
Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, Stanthorpe, Qld
State Crafts Council, Melbourne
Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart
University of NSW, Sydney

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