Bill Lowe

Encaustic Enlightenment

I was born when TV’s were black and white, music was on vinyl and art in my house only existed in my step-father’s dreams.  We moved with his job every year, and my Mother’s creativity was demanded to quickly make each house a home. Actually I had three parents: a musician, a singer aka creative Mother, and then the strict German engineer step-father, who appreciated art. The contrast of the three has fueled a conflicting stream of discipline and desires.

The many moves with the family ended in Atlanta, and the ultimate career with The Coca-Cola Company.  The last half of my long tenure was in advertising, working with creatives and production – the perfect stepping stone to my career as an artist. Art was always this unknown and forbidden realm that lured.  I played with art as a child – making the discarded into what I thought was beautiful.  My step-father was always telling me to “sign that!”  Funny, I had no idea what he meant.

The Bill Lowe Gallery has always been where I go to see, and buy, great contemporary art. But attending Michael David’s opening at The Gallery in 2007 was a huge turning point. Seeing his encaustic creations made an incredible impact on me.  His pieces were exhilarating – and I was instantly fascinated with the visceral qualities of wax.

Image

The Sea – Barbara Brenner, Encaustic on Birch 42×42″
#LoweLook

Fast forward to 2010; researching encaustics for years, I had learned some of the mystery of this medium, but then I discovered Michael was planning an encaustics workshop in Atlanta.  I was amazed and excited – nothing could stop me from taking that workshop! Life after that was never the same. Michael encouraged me to take chances; scaling up, loosen up, but stay safe.  Encaustic is a dangerous medium, and physically challenging to work with on a large scale.  You must have respect for this almost 200 degree medium, for much of the creation is a fusion of the wax and I.  My goal is to create imagery that invokes a peaceful pause for the viewer.  I want to feel like I’ve been pulled into a place to float, be soothed, and refreshed.  It is ironic that it takes a fiery blow-torch, sharp scrapping instruments, loud exhaust fans, and heavy panels to achieve this peacefulness.

Many of my pieces contain a circle or oval.  This imagery is comforting, and says there is ease in our movement through time.  Knowing we really can’t control either, they just happen.  My career as an artist has happened in a way that can be illustrated with the oval: a continual, yet slow movement towards being an artist.

An early fascination with creating objects, a career that eventually focused in the creative process of advertising, building admiration of contemporary art, becoming a collector, and then having the time to study and create encaustic art, eventually with the artist I long admired, to selling my art with The Bill Lowe Gallery, one that I have always savored.

So, it’s easy to understand why being in my studio, listening to music, and immersing myself in the exploration of my own creativity is so satisfying. All my parents would understand. And I get great pleasure in signing my work.

Barbara Brenner

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Atlanta Art Community’s Watershed Moment

Left to Right: Gail O'Neil, Richard Powell, Bill Lowe, Micheal David, Jeffery Pacilpan and Kelin Perry

Left to Right: Gail O’Neil, Richard Powell, Bill Lowe, Micheal David, Jeffery Pacilpan and Kelin Perry

A watershed moment in Atlanta’s cultural evolution took place in our gallery this past Friday night.   Over 1200 energized and passionate art patrons packed our Midtown gallery for the opening of our new exhibition featuring almost two dozen local artists from the Fine Arts Atelier.  This substantive and diverse audience made manifest Bill Lowe Gallery’s 25-year commitment to popularizing and democratizing the visual arts in American culture. When we opened in 1989 our mandate was to make the experience of art which expanded human consciousness accessible to anyone and everyone who had an interest; Friday night was another actualization of that vision and a further sign of Atlanta’s cultural vitality.

The gallery was a kinetic confluence of the most diverse and interactive crowd of art enthusiasts ever assembled in a commercial gallery in the city.  Actively represented were cultural institutions ranging from the Hammonds House Museum to the Fine Arts Atelier, Tin Wood Media, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the High Museum of Art, the Carlos Museum and more.  All merged in a euphoric embrace of a whole new generation of local artists, many making their debut; others were featured in return engagements.  They were coupled with selected works by a brilliant configuration of international titans from Egypt, Portugal, Peru, Morocco, South Korea, Italy, Canada, Nigeria – and all over the United States.

In recent years, a kind of lethargy had swept over the arts community across the world.  Fueled in large part by the Great Recession, but informed by the dilution of any real cultural focus by hyper-stimulation from digital technologies, the overarching trend was toward a dehumanization of artistic expression in the visual arts.  But that cycle has now ended.  More recently, a succession of remarkable bits of news has invigorated our community and the South as a whole.  The city’s selections as the “Best City in America for Artists” infused the entire arts community with an immense pride in our shared efforts to make Atlanta worthy of its status at the “Capital of the South”.  There is now no better place in our country for artists than Atlanta!

Atlanta, the largest city in North America ever totally destroyed by war, has arisen from its ashes.  With fervor and conviction we have arduously fought to overcome the burden of our history.  What has been forged in place is a transmutation that fueled the greatest contributions to civil and human rights in the world, a global transportation hub, the launch of the first global communications network, the aggregation of music and film industries and the first true cultural epicenter the South has ever seen. Our gallery, and many others arts organizations, have spent decades co-creating what I have described as “An American Renaissance”.

Karen Schwartz - Red Leg

Karen Schwartz – Red Leg

We have long touted ourselves as the “Black Mecca” in the United States. Yet, until only recently, there was a stark divide in cultural interaction between the various ethnic communities in Atlanta’s growing arts community.  Our gallery made a declaration of intention years ago; we titled it “Commence: A Philosophical Détente”.  Its intention is to blur the lines between race, gender, sexual persuasion, religious creed and color.  In the past many years – in the interest of “cultural cross-pollination”, we have introduced artists from around the globe to the American market and, in turn, introduced the world to a host of American artists from across the country.  Friday night was a testament to the success of this initiative.  Visitors from around the world commented that they had never seen so many people so excited about art in a gallery anywhere they had ever traveled.

My staff and I are gratified to see such a kaleidoscopic array of remarkably informed patrons and supporters of the arts.  We are proud that so many in our community “stood ground for the arts” and kept forging ahead in spite of immense obstacles.  The breadth and scope of the artistic offering supported by Atlantans represents the “flesh and bones of a new culture”.  In contrast to world centers where art has become ironic, satirical and narcissistic, the vocabularies that engender heartfelt responses here address themes that are universal and eternal.  Atlanta is a renewed cultural capital.   Our region’s historic predisposition to an embrace of the natural world – and our relationship to it – has lent a rich new array of languages to the unfolding conversation.  These have acted as a grounding force in artistic discourse.

Home Is Where the Art Is

On Friday, February 9th, Bill Lowe Gallery launched a brand new event series entitled “Home Is Where the Art Is”. This innovative show concept takes contemporary art out of the “white box” and into a residential setting  to demonstrate the way art can turn a house into a home.

 

The first installment of this series took place in a traditional Atlanta Buckhead manor owned by the former Atlanta Braves pitcher, Derek Lowe. Partnering with Harry Norman Realtors / Christie’s, Bill Lowe Gallery took this furnished residence and imbued it with heart and soul using a mixture of contemporary art and African tribal antiquities. The result is one of surprising drama that elevates the architecture beyond it’s classical design origins.

We conceptualized this event series in order to highlight one of our most valuable attributes: the ability to decipher a client’s motivations and aspirations to determine exactly which pieces will move their spirit and energy to a higher dimension.  Or to break it down in layman’s terms: we figure you out and then we figure your art out.

We often hear the phrase “well I love it, but I can’t see it in my home”; on the contrary, what you love is exactly what you need in your home and we did this to show you precisely how it’s done. You can put a larger-than-life sculpture in your foyer. You can mix tribal material with chic contemporary paintings. You can take risks and they can pay off… beautifully.

 

The Living Room

The Dining Room

The Study

The Stairwell

All of the art placed in the home totaled a retail value of over $1 million. Within a week of the showcase, after being on the market for three months, the house had gone under contract.

The gallery will continue transforming residences throughout the year to advocate an appreciation for art and to show how vital art can be to creating homes that heal, nourish, and protect the soul.

For more pictures from the “Home Is Where The Art Is” installation, click here.

For pictures from the “Home Is Where The Art Is” private reception, click here.