Born in Derby in 1990, Iona Rowland studied Fine Art at Kingston University from 2010-2013, before attending Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York in 2015. Now working from her studio in South London, she creates immersive large scale paintings for both the public and private realm. The pop culture inspired works comprise multiple layers of resampled imagery, screen-prints, spray paint, improvised brush strokes and squeegee marks which overlap and converge to create new, multidimensional narratives.
Iona Rowland's new series of paintings, created exclusively for Zound Editions, reimagine historical portraits of seated women, referencing Egon Schiele's Sitting Woman with Legs Drawn Up (1917) and Picasso's Seated Woman (1927). Rowland has deconstructed these archetypal portrayals which often objectify the subject, and reconstructed them in a fictional context.
Rowland's Seated Woman series reinterprets the passive muse as a dynamic and powerful woman. Inspired by Jeff Koons' 2013 album artwork for Lady Gaga and Daniel Arsham's Future Fantasy campaign, the artist has created two captivating portraits LA musician Kelela in the year 2050. Rowland said the musician's 2017 album Take Me Apart resonated in so many ways, through its title, imagery and ethereal soundtrack: 'I thought her album artwork depicted womanhood in its entirety - vulnerability and strength, sexuality and aspiration - it is the antithesis of the reductionist portraits of women from the early-mid 1900s.' The artist explained 'I see her [Kelela] as a disrupter within the music industry - pushing parameters and transcending the bonds of genre definition'. Artistically, she has all the agency to control her creative output - I wanted to convey this on canvas, redefining archaic ideologies around 'the muse', and empowering the subject to be exactly who she wants to be.