Free «External Tumors by Rowan Mersh» Essay Sample


In this essay, we will employ psychoanalytic narrative as a methodology to explain a piece of jewelry designed by Rowan Mersh; external tumors. We will analyze the work and the psychological message he was delivering.

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Rowan Mersh

Rowan Mersh is a textile sculptor whose bold new jewelry collections have been featured in Ellen magazine. He fuses design with technique and emphasizes experimentation. He graduated from Royal college of Art and was the first to win the Mercury Art Prize. He has been compared to textile fashion icons like Hussein Chalayan and Issey Miyake. Rowan's work has ben process oriented and the work reveals itself and takes form depending on the materials used and the emphasis. He has innovative fabrics are sometimes regarded as sculptures.

Psychoanalysis is a system that concerns itself with both conscious and unconscious psychological processes. This technique is deployed in narratology to study written art. Fundamentally tumors are caused by accumulation of mutations in DNA cells resulting to uncontrollable divisions and later to subsequent abnormal growth.  The Rowan Mersh "External Tumors" was derived from the concept of this cell mutation idea and its strands to form a visible effect over time. The cells will take form and multiply, later revealing uncontrollable shapes. The shapes may include that of a periphery zone twisting and thrashing into space. The textile sculptor resembles volume of a blossoming tumor.  

The External Tumors

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Uncomfortable, oppressive and morbid are the feelings that this piece gave me when I saw it first time. It is eye catching, dragging audience to think about the significance. After I read the background I realized the round shapes under the stripe fabric are defaced coins, CDs containing corrupted data and irreparably scratched vinyl. Those objects are defective and abandoned, it could be representing the distorted personalities of people who under this society. The fabric covered the face shows those people are covered by false, jealous, crafty etc. That is pathetic but unavoidable. Or it could be the bad memories of someone (CDs are recording data) which blinded her eyes and took away her hopes. The oversized form and exaggerated structure also point out that the defects are serious and significant. The designer would like to use the notion of cell mutation to describe his negative emotions and complaints from his innermost world. Or remind us to avoid this.

Rowan's work on volumes easily resonates with the viewer when set eyes upon them. Significant aspects of his work is the juxtaposition of implied traditional and mathematical volumes (cylindrical, triangular, spherical and disc shapes) with the natural form of humans. This he achieves by the wrappings, bindings and using pliable textiles to form his models. It is a visual essay both in static and in a living and moving form on the interactive relationship depicting the human form and the structures that are build by humans. Here we can say that bodies are merging with architecture.

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The textile 'architecture' here has only black and white palette. This means that the tactic can be defined by an established range; that of grey tones. Hue colors are absorbed upon projection by these forms or when exposed within the ambient environment they are in. rowan further uses pinstriped fabric to define the volume by establishment of latitudinal tracks. Our eyes thus easily follow these tracks to see a visual landscape to clearly see the three dimension space, with this kind of series, the external tumors the textile becomes topography.

The external tumor can again be seen to resemble constellations of the Zodiac sign cancer in motion under the night in the blue sky. Underneath the fabrics of external tumors, objects are seen to lurk and multiply. This brings out the concept of "junk space". The old CDs used with the worthless coins and scratched vinyls as frames of the sculptor; the transforming territory inhabits our bodies and minds with pure elegance.


Rowan Mersh is a textile based sculptor whose has developed a unique aesthetic in several of his several forms in textiles, sculptors or any other work he sets his eyes on. His works have been like real structure that devour and caress the human structure. The bodies onto which they hang are just mere props within intention of creating scale and movement.

Rowan's work on volumes easily resonates with the viewer when set eyes upon them. Significant aspects of his work in the external tumor is the juxtaposition of implied traditional and mathematical volumes like cylindrical, triangular, spherical and disc shapes with the natural form of humans. He achieves these by the wrappings, bindings and using pliable textiles to form his models. It depicts the human form and the architectural structures that humans build. Here we can say that bodies are merging with architecture. Although Rowan does not consider himself to be a fashion designer but rather a sculptor, an artist as well as an explorer, he has an undeniable style as an innovator.

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