Kesseler, Rob 1951-

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Kesseler, Rob 1951-


Born 1951, in Solihull, Warwickshire, England. Education: Attended Central School of Art & Design, 1973-76.


Home—England. E-mail—rob. [email protected].


Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design, professor of ceramic art and design, 2006—. Served as artist-in-residence, Holy Trinity School, London, England, 1984. Exhibitions: "Objects as Language," Exe Gallery, Exeter, England, 1982; "Signs of Life," The Drawing Schools, Eton College, Windsor, England, 1983; "New Work," Holy Trinity School, London, England, 1984; "Emblems and Objects," East Studio, Radio Kent, Canterbury, England, 1987; "Approach," Unit 7 Gallery, London, 1988; "Migration," Adam Gallery, London, 1989; "Ground Rules," London Filmakers Co-op, London, 1989; "Rob Kesseler," Gallery 175, Brussels, Belgium, 1989; "New Leaves," Kettles Yard, Cambridge, England, 1989; "Offcuts," Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, England, 1991; "Stable," Art 91, Olympia, London, 1991; "Osmosis," Museum of Installation, London, 1992; "Propagation," Central Space Gallery, London, 1992; "Offcuts and Seconds," Lethaby Gallery, London, 1992; "Ex Libris," Antonia Havani Contemporary Art, Greece, 1994; "Ornament," Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, England, 1995; "Reflections on Another Landscape," RG Gardens, Corfu, Greece, 1996; "The Martyrdom of Ornament," Adam Gallery, London, 1997; "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe," Antonia Havani Contemporary Art, Greece, 1998; Wigmore Fine Art, London, 1998; "Extending Traditions," Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2001; "Turning Over a New Leaf," The Galery, Barking Central Library, Essex, England, 2001; "Pollinate," 3 Degrees West, The Wordsworth Trust, Cumbria, England, 2001; "Pollinate," Lethaby Gallery, London, 2002; "Beyond the Blue," City Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent, England, 2003; Atrium Gallery, Glaxo Smith Kline, London, 2003; "Botanizing the Library," Installation, Museum & Art Gallery, Folkestone, England, 2004; "New Phytopia," Science Oxford, Oxford, England, 2007; "Canopy," Nash Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, 2008.

Contributor to joint exhibitions, including: "The Illuminated Library," Frith Street Gallery, London, 1989; "Louder Than Words," Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, England, 1991; "The Travel Art Archive," Chisenhale Gallery, London, 1991; "Het Boek in Allen Staten," Bibliotheca Wittockiana, Brussels, 1994; "Words, Words, Words," Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, 1995; "Dedication to Delphi," European Cultural Centre, Delphi, Greece, 1995; "Wipe Your Feet," Antonia Havani Contemporary Art, Greece, 1995; "Le Livre Dans Tous Ses Etats," Musée des Beaux Arts, Rouen, France, 1996; "Contemporary Decorative Arts," Sotheby's, London, 1999; "Books by Artists," Centre for Fine Art Print Research, UWE, Bristol, England, 1999; "The Box Show," Museum of Installation, London, 2000; "Secret Garden," Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, England, 2000; "Fusion-Ceramics 21," Science, Art & Future, Mokpo, Korea, 2000; "Public Auction of Private Artworks," Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdon, England, 2002; "Sleepers," Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, England, 2002; "Genius of Genetics," Abbey of St. Thomas, Brno, Czech Republic, 2002; "Idea," Tendence, Messe, Frankfurt, Germany, 2004; "Q2," Queens Gallery, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, 2004; "Another View," Kew Gardens, London, 2004; "Arcadia i Est," Eagle Gallery, London; "Touring USA, Australia, Europe," 2005; "Breakers," PM Gallery, Pitzhanger Manor, London, 2006; "Firing Thoughts," Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University, Lancaster, England, 2007; "A Family Affair," Lewis Gallery, Rugby, England, 2008.


South West Arts award, 1982; Greater London Arts award, 1983; British Council award, 1994, 1997; National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Fellowship, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2001-04; Institute of Land and Amenity Management (ILAM) award for community involvement in the Newlands Park landscaping project, 2002; Green Flag Award for urban bio-diversity, Newlands Park, 2005; recipient of a gold medal for the most original concept, Independent Publishers Association, for Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Flowers and Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, 2007.


Pollinate: Encounters with Lakeland Flowers, Wordsworth Trust/Grizedale Arts, 2001.

Botanizing the Library, Proboscis (London, England), 2004.

(With Madeline Harley) Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Flowers, Papadakis Publishers (London, England), 2006.

(With Wolfgang Stuppy) Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, Firefly Books (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 2006.


Rob Kesseler was born 1951, in Solihull, Warwickshire, England. He studied at the Central School of Art and Design, and later joined the faculty of the school. He has also served as an artist-in-residence for the Holy Trinity School, in London. However, education is not Kesseler's primary interest; he is before all else an artist, one who combines botany and nature in general with his design skills to produce unique works that are both inspired by floral and plant life and that incorporate natural materials as part of their makeup. He has created works of art for numerous exhibitions, in England as well as the United States, Greece, Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Korea, and elsewhere. He has contributed to displays at major museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, and the British Museum in London. In 2001, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) awarded Kesseler a fellowship to work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for three years, resulting in his installation, "Beyond the Surface." The project was designed to help illustrate that art and science are not disparate studies, and that the two may be linked in unique and creative ways. It shows how plants have been included in art and other forms of décor through the ages, but Kesseler takes things a step farther by working at the micro level, using materials such as pollen and stem pieces from various regions of the country to create new items, both artistic and practical.

Kesseler has also served as coauthor of a number of books on botany and the natural world. Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Flowers, which he wrote with Madeline Harley, looks at pollen under a powerful microscope and marvels, not just at its traditional role in nature, but at the artistic structure of each tiny grain. Carol Haggas, writing for Booklist, commented that the book "unveils the delicate artistry and vibrant wizardry of these horticultural workhorses." Working with Wolfgang Stuppy, Kesseler also produced Seeds: Time Capsules of Life. In this volume, he does for seeds what he previously did for pollen, examining their practical role in the proliferation of plant life and also as part of the food chain, but also illustrating their beauty as artistic structures in nature, presenting enlarged views of various examples in order to show their intricate design. A reviewer for SciTech Book News noted that the volume is "a thorough introduction to the world of seeds."



Australian Plant Conservation, Volume 15, number 1, 2007, Tom North, review of Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, p. 19.

BBC Wildlife Magazine, Volume 24, number 6, 2007, Phil Gates, review of Seeds, p. 73.

Booklist, December 1, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Flowers, p. 14.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2007, J.C. Shane, review of Seeds, p. 309; November, 2007, J.E. Phillips, review of Pollen, p. 494.

January Magazine, 2007, Linda Richards, review of Pollen.

Quarterly Review of Biology, June, 2007, James D. Thomson, review of Pollen, p. 150; June 2007, Michael Wall, review of Seeds, p. 151.

Science Books & Films, March 1, 2007, Michael A. Campbell, review of Pollen, p. 61; March 1, 2007, Carole Saravitz, review of Seeds, p. 62.

Science News, February 17, 2007, review of Pollen, p. 111; February 17, 2007, review of Seeds, p. 111.

SciTech Book News, March, 2007, review of Pollen; June, 2007, review of Seeds.


Mendel Museum Web site, (February 15, 2008), artist/author profile.

Rob Kesseler Home Page, (February 15, 2008).