WEEKEND is pleased to present Diamonds are Forever, an exhibition featuring the concept-based works of Seth Lower. In the exhibition, photographs, text, and video frame Lower's experiences in his role as photographer for a high-end jewelry dealer. Concepts of labor, class, and value are touched upon in the work and are further contextualized by the location of the jewelry showroom itself, coincidentally in the same building that houses the immigration courtrooms for the greater Los Angeles area.
An example of this is Key Card, a photograph that features an enlarged copy of what is assumed to be Lower's access card. A seemingly benign object but one that symbolizes access to something, be it a place of work, a country in which to live and possibly succeed, or perhaps even, in Lower's case, entry to the art world at large. In Removals, a series of images in which the merchandise has been deleted instead of the background, Lower suggests an emptiness of value, a void, an invisibility that echoes the relationship of labor to product and to those "invisible" individuals queuing up to gain access to a potential prosperity in a new land. The idea of the invisible is carried further in the text-based video from which the show derives its name. In the video, Lower transcribes fragments of banal conversations overheard in and around his place of work. In this piece invisibility is ascribed to those who labor out of the view of the cameras, cataloging merchandise that in itself speaks to something inaccessible and sublime. In Erased Rauschenberg, Lower gives a cheeky nod to the posthumous artist by digitally erasing a ring owned by the artist. In this instance, the conceptual underpinnings of Rauschenberg's initial erasure is subsumed by the idea of access, or lack thereof, of Lower to Rauschenberg's affluence and wealth.
A dialogue is created within the exhibition; one idea does not overrule the other but instead engages in a conversation that alludes to the complexity of personal experience within the realm of luxury goods. While Lower's approach is sometimes humorous, it is, overall, a thoughtful approach to the role of laborer, and within the context of this exhibition, artist.
Seth Lower received his MFA from San Francisco Art Institute, and his BFA from the University of Michigan. His work has shown at various galleries and institutions in the United States, as well as in London, Taiwan, and Japan.