Braiding cultural critique with humor, visual pleasure and the occasional sucker punch, the work of San Diego based painter, sculptor and installation artist Jean Lowe has addressed human vanity-(our relationship to other species, the environment, sexism, our thirst for self- help, etc.)—for over 35 years. Borrowing vocabularies from art history, historic decoration, design, and commercial spaces, the artist is known for her labor intensive and fiercely handmade papier-mâche environments as well as paintings of unpeopled interiors. Lowe has recently added videos and still photography (collaborating with Lile Kvantaliani) to her oeuvre. Despite the new medium, this work operates in a similar vein to earlier projects—addressing serious topics from unexpected angles with a generous splash of wit. The message is the medium.
On March 4, Laguna Art Museum celebrated 41 years of connecting artists, collectors and the community at the sold-out California Cool Art Auction, Benefit & Bash. As Laguna Art Museum’s most important fundraiser of the year, the auction raised over $450,000 to support the museum’s exhibitions, programs and art education initiatives.
The museum-curated auction will feature works by over 125 of California's most sought-after artists including Lita Albuquerque, Charles Arnoldi, Billy Al Bengston, Kelly Berg, Alex Couwenberg, Joe Goode, David Ligare, Jean Lowe, Andy Moses, Gwynn Murrill, Fabia Panjarian, Ruth Pastine, Astrid Preston, Ed Ruscha, Beth Waldman and many more. Proceeds from the annual auction provide vital support to the museum, directly benefiting major initiatives, education programs, exhibitions and community engagement.
Entering Jean Lowe’s Encinitas studio isn’t exactly like stepping into a dreamworld, but it’s pretty damn close. It’s filled with spectacular mise-en-scène-style painted artworks and papier-mâché pieces. Look up, and one might spot ornamental vases rendered with the Coors logo. A close examination of books on a shelf actually reveals them to be painted renderings with tongue-in-cheek titles.
Artist Jean Lowe's latest full-gallery installation is a surreally life-size, cardboard and papier mache rendering of a car dealership, complete with a massive "Swank Tank," the Hummer EV.
In a world proliferating with contemporary art, with its variety of styles, subject matter and materials— an art world that often surprises, cajoles and sometimes shocks viewers—“Your Place in the Multiverse” is even more surprising than most exhibitions.
Jean Lowe’s work parodies our most banal behaviors by inviting us to consume images of our own consumption. Visitors to Your Place in the Multiverse, a survey of Encinitas-based artist Jean Lowe’s work from the last 20 years, have the distinct experience of entering the exhibition through the gift shop.
Your Place in the Multiverse stirs up plenty of conversation. The five-part installation – which occupies the entire lower floor of the Museum – tackles capitalism, consumerism, feminism, environmentalism, animal rights and the bizarre value we place on ephemera, all while making us laugh out loud (and offering free snacks!).
For more than 35 years, Jean Lowe has been making art imbued with a proprietary blend of wry wit, visual seduction, and incisive cultural critique. Working in sculpture, painting, and installation, Lowe draws us into elaborate reconstructions of our own value systems, empowering, entertaining, and implicating us all at once. Lowe talks with HereIn’s Contributing Editor Jordan Karney Chaim about humor, sneak attacks, and the power of objects.
Your Place in the Multiverse: Jean Lowe recently opened as an exhibit at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art in Logan. The exhibit features 10 art installations from American artist Jean Lowe that use satire and humor to touch on topics such as consumerism, environmentalism and feminism. Jean Lowe is a multimedia artist whose installations at the NEHMA include paintings, artist-made furniture and a short film where Lowe dresses as a fictional talk show host to discuss her works.
"POW!" stands for "portraits of women," and the installation examines the way women were portrayed in abstract expressionism and modernism. Lowe created a replica of a midcentury museum exhibition space — a massive canvas painted as a rug and set on the floor, cloth-mâché and cardboard sculptures made to look like impressively realistic decorative plants, and then three "framed" paintings — painted directly on the gallery wall.
Jean Lowe is not an illusionist in the conventional sense of the term. Her painted images and papier- mache sculptures don’t typically fool the eye by closely resembling the things they represent. Her game has more to do with the machinations of the mind, the conflations and confusions between what we know, want and believe.
In her show at McKenzie two years ago, Jean Lowe created a high-camp furniture installation of papier-mâché, taking off on the fancy Empire mode of early 19th-century décor. Now she's at it again, this time slyly constructing a psychiatrist's waiting room and office with all the right accouterments: Breuer chairs and tables, a George Nelson sling sofa, a Barcelona ottoman, a rubber plant, stacks of Kleenex boxes, a shelf full of Greek and Egyptian artifacts with Freudian gravitas.