Camouflage Plate: Adelaide Rosella – Male

Stephen Bowers

223232 Bowers Camouflage Plate Rosella Male
Camouflage Plate: Adelaide Rosella – Male by Stephen Bowers


Stephen Bowers
Camouflage Plate: Adelaide Rosella – Male
ram-pressed ceramic blank, white earthenware, underglaze decoration, clear glaze
diam. 33 cm

signed verso

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Incorporating ideas of tromp-l’oeil, natural history, decorative arts, historical reference and personal commentary, the series strikes a thought-provoking balance between consumption, use and display. With their fragmented imagery, the plates suggest the possibilities of larger stories. The delicacy inherent in ceramics is almost overcome by the opulent ornamentation and layers of patterning, revealing the mastery of Bowers’ technique.

The parrots featured on the plates are portraits, some paying homage to bird illustrator, William T Cooper. The botanical patterns inspired by nature and through historical sources (for example William Morris designs and French toile designs) are symbolic of the colour and beauty of the natural world and its appropriation into the human environment. This mix of cultural references from such a wide range of historical and diverse regions prompt us to consider Australia’s place and context within history and the contemporary world. Further, the fragmentation is symbolic of patterns being disrupted within society and globally.

“Framed within the illusory, sleight of hand, tromp l’oeil world of my plates, images of overlap, disruption and fragmentation occur. This is a response to the dilemma of living in a time of spectacular consumption of finite resources, of increasing pressure of human population and environmental impact, global warming and the breaking down of the resilience of the natural world.” Stephen Bowers, 2016