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Piers Rawson: Biography

Piers Rawson is an award-winning digital landscape artist and fine art photographer, producing archival prints for exhibition, and editorial images. His work explores the zone where art and culture, poetry and the surreal converge. Piers was digital and documentary photographer in residence at South West Arts for Year of the Artist (2000-2001) and holds a PhD in the History of Art. He has carried out a number of digital and public art commissions, and has written, edited and designed for publication in the arts. He is currently working on a range of projects reflecting his fascination with the interactions of art, nature and culture. Recent photography features metaphorical, poetic and surreal references within landscape (Dorset, Wiltshire, France, Yorkshire); and Living Landscapes/Still Lives, work which explores how human engagement with the natural environment is expressed, in terms of borrowed motifs and the imposition of cultural aspirations.

Projects for 2013 included Festival Cultures in the main gallery at Bridport Arts Centre and Photographies at L'Artiche Gallery in Swanage, November 2013.

As digital and documentary photographer in residence at South West Arts for Year of the Artist, his work during the year was published in book and CD ROM form (365, Agre Books). His pictures were used as the representative image for YOTA nationally in the Arts Council's Annual Review (Breaking New Ground).

Commissions have included digital landscape images for Pastures New exhibition at Thelma Hulton Gallery, Honiton (2004) and a digital public art commission for Somerset Art Weeks (2004), displayed on a billboard at Taunton Station. At the end of 2002 he was commissioned by South West Arts Marketing to produce images of audiences and participants in the arts in the South West. A selection of the resulting work was brought together to form an exhibition, Creative Ambush (tour 2003 - 2004.)

Since 1988 he carried out a series of photography residencies at schools and colleges funded by South West Arts, Somerset and Devon LEAs, Newlyn Orion and Take Art (his 1988 Artists in Schools landscape residency was published to demonstrate exemplary practice by the Arts Council in Close Collaborations, 1994). From mid 1998 to mid 1999 he was photographer in residence at the Tacchi Morris Art Centre, Taunton, undertaking a documentary photography/digital imaging public arts commission, based on the theme of participation in performing arts, for a new dance studio. In 2003 he led a digital photography/Photoshop schools residency for The Royal Photographic Society and Somerset LEA. Long term projects included documentation of Arnolfini Education Programme, and Phase II of the Parrett Project for Somerset County Council.

He has showed in group and solo exhibitions (his exhibition Against Nature toured to Watershed and other South West venues in 1992-93; Visage/Captive Ark, was at Plymouth Arts Centre, 1999 and was published in Proof #9 by SWA); work was sold from the print room of The Photographers' Gallery in 1988/89. Work was selected in 2007 for the National Union of Journalists Centenary Exhibition 100 Years, 100 Images - the exhibition toured in 2008 under the title Stand up for Photojournalism. 2011 saw selection for the Evolver Prize exhibition at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton and display of landscape images in the First View Gallery, Stourhead; Small Moments - The Human Face of Semana Santa was exhibited at New Milton Arts Centre in 2012.

He has been involved in writing on and publishing photography: he edited Light Reading 1992-94 (SWA supported regional photography newsletter) and edited/designed the first five issues of PhotoArt International photo magazine, 1994-95. He edited and compiled the first edition of SWA's Photography Directory, and was a member of the publishing advisory group supervising the Arts Council supported Available Light imprint 1994-6.

From the early to mid 1980's he worked as a stage designer, gaining three Arts Council awards to artists for commissioned designs for contemporary dance, and took a Ph.D. in Art History.