||Los Angeles-based artist Marilyn Lowey creates installations that investigate the use of light as an optical, sculptural, and psychological spectacle. Drawing on her extensive experience as a professional lighting designer, Lowey utilizes a range of devices, including computerized fixtures and handmade light bulbs, to dynamically cast or embody light. In Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch (2012), for example, she assembled cosmetic compact mirrors into a dangling tongue-in-cheek disco ball, manifesting a mass of anonymous, socially conditioned portraits. In other works, such as her Translating Transitions series, she configures Versa Tubes-linear LED tubes that function like a TV screen-to translate moving figurative images into abstract forms. Lowey's immersive installations provoke phenomenological experiences, but she also links these perceptual effects to personal, cultural, and political relations (see below). Lowey's environments and tableaus always evidence their material construction, encouraging viewers to develop a critical response to light's illusory applications.
Lowey earned MFA degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (1980) and the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2010). At CalArts Lowey studied under artists Michael Asher and Jessica Bronson.
Lowey has exhibited her work throughout California and beyond. This November she will participate in Contemporary Art Ruhr 2012 in Essen, Germany. Also this fall she presented the solo exhibition Translating Transitions #3 at Gallery 825, Los Angeles. This past summer she was included in the site-specific exhibition Knowledges at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles County. Lowey's Cosmic Latte, RGB or CMYK? (2012), an immense white, glowing weather balloon tethered adjacent to the observatory dome was featured on the Frieze magazine blog. Frieze contributing editor Jonathan Griffin described the work as poignant and comic for "its allusions to man's pathetic attempts to reach out and touch, and ultimately replicate, the magnificence of the cosmos."
Also in 2012 Lowey presented her installation The West Wing Patterns of Power (2012) in Random Acts of Time at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana. Using theatrical and cinematic lighting devices, Lowey reconstructed the shadows cast by the three iconic windows of the Oval Office within the space of an art gallery. She then invited viewers to traverse the shadows. Depending on one's perspective, a viewer may imagine herself inhabiting the American President's office during a late night, or more metaphorically, may find herself within the shadow (creeping or waning) of America's power.
In 2011, Lowey displayed one of her most significant installations, Illuminating the Illuminati (2009-11) as part of the exhibition Cult of the Ruin: Strategies of Accumulation at the University Art Gallery, University of California Irvine. This installation of theatrical lights recreates the "illumination" Lowey designed for an appearance of Pope Benedict XVI in New York in 2008. Again, she invites viewers to encounter a charged, inaccessible space. Stepping into the aura of God-like light used to enhance the appearance of religious figures, as well as contemporary celebrities, viewers are encouraged to scrutinize light as a symbol of power.
Lowey enacted another religious-themed work, The Last Supper (2009-10) at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen in 2010. As part of The Big Light Show she dramatically lit an empty space with angled spotlights. As viewers navigate the scene, they become agents in an open-ended theatrical tableau. Each viewer must reconcile whether the light array suggests the lighting within Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, perhaps the lighting on the absent mural itself, or something new.
Lowey's other recent exhibitions and presentations include: Momentum, juried by Los Angeles Contemporary Arts Museum Associate Curator Rita Gonzalez, Gallery 825, Los Angeles (2012); Assemblage, curated by Steven Hull, Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles (2010); Box Scheme, curated by Ana Vejzovic Sharp, Actual Size Gallery, Los Angles (2010); Axis Mundi, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2010); ID 517, curated by Sam Durant & Nancy Buchanan, Distributed Gallery, Telic Arts Exchange, Los Angeles (2009); Beyond Geometry, Lime Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2009); Back in the Discourse, Main Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (2009); Down the Rabbit Hole: An Exploration of Fantasy and Form, Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (2007); Corpus Callosum, Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles (2007).
Lowey's work was featured on the cover of the Winter 2011 CalArts Magazine. She has pre-qualified as an artist for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Public Art for 2012 - 2014, which allows her to propose large-scale public artworks for commissions throughout the city.
C.A.R Art Fair
Essen , Germany
Translating Transitions #3
Solo show 825 Gallery
Department of Recreation and Parks Public Art
Selected as Pre-Qualified Artist for the
Projects 2012 - 2014
Knowledges Mt. Wilson Observatory
Curator Elleni Sclavenitis
Random Acts of Time OCCCA
Curator Bill Moreno
Momentum Gallery 825
Curator Rita Gonzalez
GATE (Glendale Art Temporary Exhibitions)
Curated by Cletus Dalgslish-Schommer
Strategies of Accumulation
University Art Gallery and Room Gallery UCI
curated by Flora Kao
The Big Light Show
curated by Barbara Bloemink, Paul Collins
Las Cienegas Projects
curated by Steven Hull
Actual Size Gallery
curated by Ana Vejzovic Sharp
MFA Thesis Show/ Cal Arts
Last Supper 10/09
Distributed Gallery Telic Arts Exchange
Curated by Sam Durant & Nancy Buchanan
California Institute of the Arts
January 2009 MFA 1 show
Back in the Discourse
California Institute of the Arts
Selected Works Guest Curator Karen Higa
Bolsky Gallery December 2007
Down the Rabbit Hole:
An Exploration of Fantasy and Form
Curated by the Loyola Marymount Curatorial Group
Curated by Dana Duff