From the time I was a child, I loved dancing, jumping, turning cartwheels and waving my arms. I was a show-off. I could control and contort my body in unusual ways, and one of my favourite things was to bend over backwards and do backflips to impress whoever was watching.
I like the idea, the feeling of watching or being watched. It’s in my latest series of ceramic sculptures, of colourful flowers with eyes peering out. My latest sculpture is called “Voyeur”.
My sculptures started out more figurative. Back then, I was trying to recapture the physical sensation of gymnastics. It was my passion. By the time I was twelve years old, I was doing gymnastics more than 30 hours every week, straight after school until bedtime, and often a 12-hour day on a Saturday. I loved what it felt like to stretch further than I thought I could, seeing how far or high I could go, testing myself, exaggerating every movement. And I loved the sense of freedom, going from standing on the ground to flying in the air, almost changing from a grounded body to a mass of free energy.
It was a rush of elation, the closest I could get to flying.
I started out creating figures that were extended and contorted, abstracted down to a minimum, in playful shapes with bold colours and broad stripes and circles meant to “show off,” like a peacock displaying its feathers. And sometimes a sculpture would have just one eye looking out.
Then I started to create bright, colourful flowers inspired by the world inside my head. A dream world of playful colour, delightful meadows and flowers that play jazz. I was playing with the idea of who is looking at whom, so I started giving my flower sculptures eyes. I make big flowers and small ones, some with lots of eyes coming from inside the petals. When people look at them, some feel they’re being watched, others interact a bit more and want to get to know the sculptures.
Being in a collective has influenced my work. I’m a member of the Cor Blimey Arts Studios in Deptford in London. We’re in a warehouse partitioned into studios with a gallery space in the middle.
There are about 20 of us, and we put on a lot of shows together. Two of us do ceramics, and the others are sculptors, printmakers, photographers and painters. I’m now starting to do more paintings, and will be working with body prints and collage. My day job is here in Eton, restoring antique picture frames, and I go to the Deptford studio about once a week and on weekends.
Besides Gaudi, Dali, Picasso and Giacometti, the artists I admire are Jun Kaneko, Niki de Saint Phalle, Phillip Eglin, Mo Jupp and Sandy Brown. Sandy has always inspired me to continue with my childlike, playful approach to ceramics. In her work there are no limits, no barriers to where ceramics can go. She has work in the V&A and other public collections in the UK, as well as public collections in Europe, China, Korea and Australia, so I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to exhibit with me last year in our Gifted Relay show at Cor Blimey Arts.
Rebekah Narewski creates both large and small ceramic sculptures for indoor and outdoor display. Her exhaustive exhibition history includes London and ten other towns in England, as well as the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair. She has a BA (Hons) in Ceramics from the University of Westminster, and in 2004 was trained in art restoration at J Manley Gallery of Eton, where she specializes in the restoration of antique frames and the creation of hand-finished gilded frames.
Find more about Rebekah Narewski here
Cor Blimey Arts Limited is a charitable cooperative providing studios for artists and a gallery for exhibitions. Its artist members of all ages come from many different countries and include graduates from Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art. http://www.corblimeyarts.com/
Photos courtesy of Craig Dunsmuir
Rebekah extends an open invitation to Beat Magazine readers to come to the Private View on 7 October.
A Couples Collaboration: Rebekah Narewski & Craig Dunsmuir @ Core Gallery runs from 3 to 16 October 2011.
Beat Magazine readers have an open invitation to Cor Blimey Arts Group Show Private Views on 10 and 17 June and 23 September.
The next Cor Blimey Arts Group Show is June 11 to 19 (weekends only). Forthcoming Open Studios at Cor Blimey Arts are on June 18/19, September 24/25 and October 1/2.