Professor Tania Kovats
Professor (Teaching and Research)
Art and Design Office, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
Tania Kovats’ practice and research as an artist is an exploration of our experience of landscape, increasingly with an environmental focus. Her work includes temporary and permanent sculptural works often in the public realm, drawing, and writing, that currently consider her preoccupation with water, rivers, seas and oceans. She works at the confluence of environmental, psychological, political, and the personal. Kovats is an advocate for drawing in its expanded field, as a highly significant tool of thinking and expression, that provides an infinite and varied means of communication that continues to be expanded and enriched by practitioners. She regularly seeks out engagement and impact with audiences beyond the gallery. Her works are in both public and private collections in the UK and abroad, including Arts Council, Jupiter Artland, The British Council, Government Art Collection, the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, and the V&A.
Current practice and research include developing her consideration of environmental issues around our seas and oceans. In 2018 Kovats was a Guest Curator for the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Kovats took Rachel Carson’s text The Sea Around Us as the curatorial anchor for these public forum sessions. She is an international member of the 2019/20 Drawing Ecologies: Deep South in New Zealand making a creative response to environmental challenges faced by Moari coastal communities. Her most recent publication in newspaper form is WETLANDS, 2020, with drawing and writing in response to environmental challenges being faced by wetland ecologies. Ongoing projects include ‘SPINE’, a work for St Martin’s in the Fields London; a commission for a ceramic drinking water fountain for the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh; and ‘HIVE’ a work for Babraham Institute Cambridge; a sculptural series of bleached coral reefs; developing ecological drawing programs; figurative sculptures of divers; ongoing writing, filmmaking, and drawing.
Recent projects include ‘WELL’ (2019) produced and exhibited a prototype hand painted ceramic public drinking water fountain as a commission for Design Exhibition Scotland. Her 2014 solo show at The Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh, ‘Oceans’, presented ‘All the Seas’, a participatory artwork made with sea water collected from around the world by a global network of water gatherers. ‘Dirty Water: London’s Low Tide’ is a publication of Kovats’ writing and drawings telling a visually driven narrative of the river in the form of 60,000 free newspapers and was the outcome of Kovats’ Tideway’s Artist Residency on the River Thames. ‘RIVERS’ is her commission for Jupiter Artland Scotland and is a collection of water from one hundred rivers in the UK, placed in the boat house. ‘Head to Mouth’ was her 2019 solo exhibition of drawings and sculpture for Berwick Gymnasium. ‘Evaporation’ 2015, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, was the solo show presenting the outcome of the Arts Council funded James Lovelock Award, where Kovats developed a body of work in response to Lovelock’s GAIA theory in relation to the world’s seas and oceans. Work from this show was included in Modern Art Oxford’s 2018 ‘Future Knowledge’, a group exhibition about how art engages with ecological thinking. Her work ‘TREE’ is a permanent work to mark the Charles Darwin bi centenary for the Natural History Museum, London.
Kovats’ research and advocacy for drawing has resulted in two publications ‘The Drawing Book. A Survey of Drawing: The Primary Means of Expression’ compiling a cross-disciplinary survey of drawing as a primary generative form of visual communication; and ‘Drawing Water - Drawing as a Mechanism of Exploration’ which consisted of drawings thematically linked by the sea. More recently Kovats has been developing programs of drawing combined with meditation practices, that consider drawing as a tool of wellbeing.
Kovats’ teaching practice is securely based in the belief in the transformative power of the creative process. All creative acts are acts of communication, how and why we communicate, and how we can communicate better is the reason to learn. Kovats lectures widely, here and abroad. Her recent academic roles have been:
- 2018-2020 Professor of Drawing at Bath Spa University
- 2013-2018 Course Leader of the MA Drawing, University of the Arts London, Wimbledon.
Two high-profile artists and writers will pass their skills on to the next generation of talent in art and design after joining the University of Dundee.