IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative- Tim Lowly

IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative, curated by Eleana Del Rio

This show features the work of ten Koplin Del Rio artists and completes the series of three IDENTITY exhibitions introducing the gallery’s artists to a Seattle audience. Curator Eleana Del Rio grouped these artists together because they share a common interest in pictorial narrative. They all invite the viewer to interact with the imagery and engage with the work in a manner that allows two narratives—both the artist’s and the viewer’s—to play out over time.

Featuring David Bailin, Eric Beltz, Shay Bredimus, Wes Christensen(1949-2015), Josh Dorman, Tim Lowly, Michelle Muldrow, Len Paschoal, Fred Stonehouse, and Yuriko Yamaguchi

November 3 – December 23, 2016
Opening Reception: First Thursday, November 3, 6 – 8pm

Artist Interview #57: Tim Lowly


Tim Lowly, photograph by Ben Scott-Brandt (2016)

1. What is your ideal working environment?
I like to work in a meditative space. Ironically, that space might be a public space: as artist-in-residence at North Park University I have on occasion worked in public contexts such as the gallery or the library. I love to listen to music while I’m working: usually of the contemplative sort (a favorite being Arvo Pärt’s “Alina). Light from over the left shoulder.

2. Is there a specific motivator in getting you into the studio?
An upcoming exhibition. Nothing is more motivating.

3. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?
I primarily work with Golden’s matte acrylics. After many years of working with egg-oil emulsion tempera I moved to matte acrylic as a medium I could handle more aggressively and adventurously.
I often have multiple projects en route conceptually, but usually focus on making them one at time.

4. Is there anything you would like to share as personal interests outside of the studio – outdoor activity, cooking, reading, museum/gallery hopping?
Teaching and curating (primarily as a professor at North Park University) are more than my primary sources of income: they are a great joy. Writing and performing music is a serious secondary pursuit.

5. In what way is your work a reflection of “tradition by way of ‘method’”?
I’m very interested in art as a way of deeply engaging the great community of artists, both present and past. Most of my works are in conversation with another artist’s work.

6. With the examples of your work represented in IDENTITY Insight: Unfolding the Visual Narrative, are there any anecdotal notes that may give insight into your artist vision to a new viewer?
“Study for Shore” is a study for a large work (imagine it being ten feet tall). In preparing this work I invited Chicago artist Maya Durham into a conversation about what the work might be. Her contribution–the upper portions of the piece, depicting fossilized shells–could be a shore or the sky. In the lower half my daughter Temma is seen from above, partially in shadow, looking off to the right. The overwhelming tactility of her hair suggests our intimate presence, but the shadow and her gaze elsewhere questions that relationship. The fossilized shells unmoor the idea of time and scale within the work.
(In developing this work I found particular inspiration in Antonio Lopez Garcia’s, “Woman on the Beach”.)

“Trying to Get a Sense of Scale” – This painting appears to depict a painting or photograph leaning against the wall of a room. The size of the work within a work is unclear. The picture within depicts a woman leaning over an unseen figure on a couch. In the foreground is a wheelchair.

The woman is my wife Sherrie and she is assessing how to pick up our daughter Temma (which is not a light matter!). The reflection on this action / event and it’s depiction as a picture (of indeterminate size) in a picture is intended to function as a metaphor for the task of assessing the scale of a life.

(Art I was thinking about in conversation with this work: Robert Gober’s leaning door in his 1988 installation at the ICA in Boston and the image construction strategies of Michaël Borremans.)

“Tilt / Iron” (currently in progress) is another study for a large painting. The subtle trapezoidal shape of the work alludes to a rectangular work leaning against a wall (as in “Trying to Get a Sense of Scale”). As the title suggests the color / texture of the work intentionally references rusty iron plate, pointing specifically to the large-scale iron works of Richard Serra. Again the subject of the work is my daughter Temma who in reality exists in utter contrast to the grand scaled machismo of Serra’s works. In the painting Temma lies in bed, with her back to the viewer as she faces a window. The possibility of a portal within the painting is complicated by the window’s overwhelming light: suggesting, perhaps, that this woman has access to something beyond our comprehension or power.


“Study for Shore”, Tim Lowly with Maya Durham, 2016, mixed process drawing, 37″ x 29″


“Trying to Get a Sense of Scale”, 2012, acrylic on panel, 21″ x 18″

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