Works by Constance Lowe
On view: April 6 – May 27, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, April 6th, 5-7pm
at the Hawn Gallery, located in the Hamon Arts Library at SMU
Artist Connie Lowe will conduct a gallery talk at 5:45 p.m.
The Hawn Gallery presents Chromarray, works by Constance Lowe, featuring pieces from Lowe’s Garden City (Air to Ground), FabCom and Chromarray series.
Lowe’s work examines the intersection between nature and humans’ built environments, with a special focus on biology, mathematics, psychology and agriculture. The title of the show comes from a term created by Lowe – Chromarray. It stems from telescopic research being conducted by Lowe’s friend at the time of the series’ creation. Lowe describes how, across the United States, there are an array of telescopes picking up satellite imagery and radio waves from space. Lowe combined the word chrome, relating to color, with array, and arrangement of objects, to create chromarray.
Lowe’s most recent series, Garden City (Air to Ground) (2015) takes its inspiration from circular and gridded NASA satellite photos of Midwestern fields. The landscapes contain personal connotations to Lowe as they represent land once owned by her family. Lowe uses a range of materials in her work that blend the natural and artificial such as dyed calfskin, wool felt, translucent drafting film, and photographic reproductions of clouds. Lowe describes how her use of natural and human made materials reveal how nature can be manufactured and our constructed world made to appear naturally occurring. She states:
“These elements are used to push, displace and layer the shapes and space of flat land patterns to charge formal structure with perceptual dislocation and sensory engagement, suggesting how our natural environment and our relationship to it is increasingly distanced, contingent and abstract.”
Lowe’s earlier body of work, FabCom and Chromarray (2000-212), also takes its inspiration from abstraction. It examines how such forms are shaped by natural motifs, medical imaging, and botany. The designs are reminiscent of ink blots and genetic patterns (the subconscious and the natural). When creating the felt pieces, Lowe started with indeterminate, amorphous shapes in order to avoid any subconscious associations. Although they were not intended to mirror Rorschach ink blots, many viewers immediately made the connection. Lowe describes how Rorschach blots are commonly misidentified and do not mirror the ten official inkblots used in the test. She states, “Like clouds, stains, and birthmarks, the inkblot provokes an instinctual impulse to perceive identifiable images in otherwise abstract shapes.”
Humans are constantly attempting to make the unidentifiable recognizable, projecting their experiences and knowledge onto the unknown or obscure. The bodies of work contain similar materials to those of Garden City including felt which creates sculptural pieces that seem to consume the space they inhabit with both their size and bright color palette. Lowe’s blending of natural and synthetic materials reveal how nature can be manufactured and our constructed world made to appear naturally occurring. These pieces reveal the social implications of human being’s dissonance from nature.
Constance Lowe is based in San Antonio, Texas. She has exhibited her work extensively throughout the United States in solo and group exhibitions including the Ruiz Healy Art Gallery San Antonio, The Meadows Museum SMU, Contemporary Art Center of Ft. Worth, and the Thomas Barry Fine Arts, Minneapolis. Lowe received a BFA in graphic design and painting from SMU and an MFA from Western Michigan University in painting.
Chromarray will be on view through March 11, 2018. The gallery is open daily, M-TH 8AM-9PM, F 8AM-6PM, Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 2PM-9PM and free to the public. For more information, please call 214-768-3813 or visit www.smu.edu/cul/hamon. Follow us on Instagram @hawngallery
Curated by Emily Rueggeberg, Curatorial Fellow for the Hawn Gallery