Marieke Pauwels is currently Head of Department of Ceramics at the PXL-MAD School of Arts in Hasselt, Belgium. For the last six years she has been involved in a research program at the same institute. Since 1989 Pauwels has run exhibitions at home and abroad, testing the conventions of her medium by exploring themes such as order and chaos, emptiness and form or matter and energy. The way these themes are broached is often inspired by a very oriental concern with the perpetual shifts in our dealings with matter. She has won a number of coveted international awards. A welcome guest speaker on the role and the future of Ceramics in Contemporary Art, she has lectured in Austria, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the UK. Residencies in Japan, the Netherlands and China continue to inspire her work. Pauwels has worked for three decades as a teacher in Art Education. A number of articles on her work have been published.
The creative process leads artists – me, anyway – to existential questions. At first, I found the folkloric devotional practices of the Low Countries inspiring. Gradually I started to take an interest in Eastern cultures. Once I started visiting Asia, I became more intrigued than ever by Eastern philosophies. For some time now, I have been exploring such themes as chaos and order, form and emptiness, matter and energy.
Across time and space, man has pondered the incessantly shifting substance or matter that surrounds him. Such reflection forms a starting point for my investigations – as revealed in my works pertaining to landscapes: mountains, scholars’ rocks and bivalves. This investigation of matter inexorably had me scrutinizing the intimate relationship between chaos and order, for the very process of creation demands a return to chaos, while simultaneously drawing me into the orbit of emptiness.