rise up children, sing a glorious future
Koplin Del Rio is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Chicago artist Tim Lowly. The exhibition's title, rise up children, sing a glorious future, sounds like a grandiose caption to a propaganda poster, but it is more like a whisper that weaves through this somewhat dizzyingly eclectic collection of paintings, drawings, prints and digital works. As in previous exhibitions Lowly presents a body of work that engages and subverts conventional forms such as portraiture and landscape in an on-going examination of the personal and the every day as points on a road leading elsewhere. Just turned 50 the artist steps further into paradox; producing work that is at once heartbreaking and hopeful, stark and colorful, lucid and obscure, painterly and draftsman-like.
At the heart of the exhibition is a large drawing / painting hybrid titled Culture of Adoration which represents a drawing class circled around and drawing a model. The "strangeness" of the model (Lowly's frequent subject - his profoundly disabled daughter) is only the first factor that disrupts the reading of what might appear to be a conventional scene of a drawing class. Encountering this work, Karen Halvorsen Schreck wrote: "Vertigo. That's my sensation, as if the immense bow, the great bowl of the horizon-my perspective-has been gently turned on end, and I am unanchored." Lowly sites the similarly disorienting Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo Vander Goes and other Adoration (of the Magi or Shepherds) paintings as posing a compelling precedent for making an image of a group of people drawing a model. Yet, while on the one hand the "culture" of the drawing's title refers to the community formed by the common act of looking, it also may be understood to bring to question our broader culture's adoration with celebrity, wealth and beauty.
Currently, Tim Lowly is the Director of Exhibitions, instructor, and artist-in-residence at North Park University in Chicago. He has been the recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in 1995 for visual art, and an individual artist grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts in 1987. Lowly has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, as well as solo exhibitions in South Korea. His work can also be seen in collections of the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at UCLA. This is his second exhibition at the gallery.