Rowland Byass (Briton, 1967-)

Rowland Byass in his studio

Rowland Byass is a landscape architect and ceramic artist based in Spain. He was born in Nottingham, England, in 1976. He studied English Literature at Cambridge University, graduating in 2000. Gardens, plants and cultural landscapes have been a consistent strand in his life.

For several years Byass worked as a gardener and garden designer based in London. In 2008 he gained a master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield. His MA dissertation,an analysis and critique of the redesign of a public square in Manchester, won a Landscape Institute award. He has designed and made several urban and rural landscapes in the UK and France and worked with The Indian Trust for Architecture and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) masterplanning a sacred landscape around the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, India.

In 2014 he presented a paper on ruins, weeds and wastelands in Berlin at a conference, Material Memory: post-industrial landscapes and creative practices, organised by the School of Art at Newcastle University. This was published as a chapter of a book, The Post- Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice (2016), edited by Gwen Heaney.

Byass moved from London to Berlin in 2016 where he developed a ceramic practice, initially concentrating on hand-building vessels for plants. Influenced by the buildings and landscapes of Berlin, his ceramic vessels combine architectural forms and living planting with an aesthetic informed by ruins and post-industrial landscapes. His first show of ceramic work in the USA, Cracks in the Grid, featured the works he produced during a three month artist residency at Tom of Finland Foundation, Los Angeles. This took the form of a cityscape of planted vessels that represented the urban form and plant life of the city.

In 2018 Byass moved to the small coastal town of Altea, in the Valencia region of Spain. Here he worked on a new body of ceramic work. He showed this work in his exhibition, Broken, in July 2018 in Altea.

In August 2018, he returned to Los Angeles to make a shrine for Carrington Galen commissioned by the president of Tom of Finland Foundation, Durk Dehner. Like the work he made during his 2017 stay, the shrine was conceived and made in an outdoor studio in the garden of the Foundation. The Carrington Galen shrine [below] is his first memorial work.