. .Tim Lowly at Wood Street Gallery
..review by John Brunetti
..from New Art Examiner July August 1998
Tim Lowly has established his
reputation as an accomplished painter of intimate tempera works
that transport one into hushed domestic dramas of unspoken devotion
to deep personal beliefs. It was therefore a surprise to see the
form his current work has taken in this, his first exhibition
of sculpture. While the subject of his sculpture, as with many
of his paintings, is his daughter, Temma Day, Lowly's approach
to the three-dimensional works is bolder and simpler. He utilizes
textures and scale to assert a distinctive physical and psychological
presence that suggest an invigorating new direction in his artwork.
Using a variety of materials - paper, plaster, ceramic - Lowly has created a series of tactile, life-size figurative works and wall-mounted pieces that address the deceptiveness of the human body as a true indication of one's identity and the sole boundary of our world. Lowly's "TDL" series comprises five material interpretations of a little girl lying prone on the gallery floor. Turned on her side, her head tilting back her lips parted, her arms folded awkwardly across her body, the image of the young girl reflects the physical incapacitation of Lowly's own child, yet becomes a symbol for all individual's physically challenge and seemingly separated from their environment.
Lowly's choices of materials for
individual figures suggest both the fragility of disintegration
and the ethereal associations of spiritual ascension. Deep tan
in color with a rough ceramic surface, "TDL 1" is the
most fragile among the figures. It resembles petrified wood, evoking
both decay and eternal preservation in the delicate lines of twisted
limbs and rumpled clothing. As one bends down to view and move
around the pitted, rigid surface of sculpted flesh, bone, and
fabric, one realizes that there is a peace to the young girl's
physical metamorphoses that transcends one's own clumsy, upright
Whereas Lowly's ability to make compelling images in his previous paintings allowed us to be momentary visitors to private worlds, his new sculpture makes us active participants in environments that remind us that restrictions of the human body do not ultimately limit the capabilities of the human spirit.
Copyright © John Brunetti 1998
John Brunetti is a Chicago based critic. Check him out on the Chicago Art Critics Assocation website.
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