Domesticus Rex Mug
- Stephen Bowers
- Domesticus Rex Mug
- wheel-thrown earthenware, underglaze, clear glaze, on-glaze gold lustre, enamel
- 10.5 x 8.5 cm
signed base: DOMESTICUS REX / STEPHEN BOWERS NORWOOD SA
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The elaborately decorated ceramics of Stephen Bowers demand a closer look and in doing so reward us with a richer understanding.
The delicacy inherent in ceramics is almost overcome by the opulence in his work, with its shimmering gold and layers of patterning, revealing the mastery of Bowers’ technique. The richness of such decoration is intensified through the layering of many different references from art history, decorative arts and natural history.
The sumptuous ornamentation is more than decorative beauty, often exhibiting a uniquely Australian quirky sense of humour and holding a deeper meaning. Bowers uses a mix of cultural references from a wide range of historical sources and diverse regions, prompting us to consider Australia’s place and context within history and the contemporary world.
Much of the imagery Bowers uses in his work is derived from historic sources including artistic traditions such as William Morris designs; French toile; botanical illustration and Willow patterned china with its blue and white chinoiserie.
Stephen Bowers make a type of pottery widely known as ‘earthenware’ with decoration covered by a clear glaze. This glaze, like the glaze often found on traditional Staffordshire and other earthenware, may, across time, develop a ‘crazed’ appearance, where the surface layer of glaze exhibits a series of fine cracks. Continuously developing across the years, this is a natural characteristic of earthenware and is often looked for in antique pieces as indicators of their age and authenticity.
Inspired by the vivid colour and detail found within the decorative traditions of ceramics, Stephen specialises in underglaze decoration with additional applications of on-glaze lustres, gold and enamel adding yet another luxurious layer to his work. Layers of decoration are painted on in stages and across multiple firings.