Quest for the Sublime
Forty years of Bruce Lowney
By Sam Adams
A four-decade retrospective on display at Exhibit/208 shows Lowney’s range as a master of the tri-tone lithograph.
Lowney, like so many others, was inspired by the Southwest's expansive vistas. "The joy of seeing cumulus clouds going back over the hills, going back over the horizon as far as you can see, intrigued me as a symbol for the sublime," Lowney says. The idea of endless vastness, frightening in its ability to overwhelm, is a staple in his work.
A four-decade retrospective on display at Exhibit/208 shows Lowney’s range as a master of the tri-tone lithograph. Collected Works charts his evolution as a printer and visual poet, while making space for his equally impressive large-scale oil works.
If the wicked irony in his work is not yet apparent, take a look at "Bully" (2010). The portrait is of a young man, bitter anguish on his face, uppercutting himself in the chin.
Then there are the pieces that mix precise geometry with haunting, surrealistic landscapes, grounded in a sense of naturalism. In "The Overgrowth," a lithograph from 1981, an endless row of symmetric bushes lead up to a sharply constructed pyramid made of the same matter. The idea that anything so geometrically precise could be a mistake—an "overgrowth"—points to Lowney's ability to wrestle with adverse ideological forces. And in the distance is one of those New Mexico skylines, replete with long, flowing clouds.
"I reached the end of something there," he says. "I'm going down to Phoenix to pull up a chair in the shade and watch the cactus grow." Do yourself a favor and experience the collected works of a master before he rides off into the sunset.
Runs through Oct. 1
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
208 Broadway SE
For info, call Kim Arthun, 450-6884, or Russell Hamilton, 977-0085.
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