A solo exhibition by influential British sculptor Jeff Lowe at Pangolin London has been announced for January 2020. Open from 15th January – 22nd February 2020, the exhibition will feature a series of Lowe’s large-scale sculptures alongside smaller works and prints. This marks a shift in Lowe’s usual aesthetic through a change in technique, material and bold use of colour.
Jeff Lowe’s new series of large-scale sculptures are shaped from curved sheets of aluminium, folded in and around each other, forming abstract circular structures. Cutting silhouettes into the aluminium sheets allows the viewer to look through the outer ‘skin’ to an intimate space within. Works will include: Almira’s Aria, no.19 (2019), Alceste’s Aria, no.21 (2019), and Ottone’s Aria, no.20 (2019). These works explore volume, space and layering with architectural forms.
The title of the show, In the Close Distance, encapsulates the impact of the works, which demand space and from afar appear as images, but as the viewer draws closer they become an experience. Although maintaining the industrial quality that is synonymous with Lowe’s works, who has historically used heavy materials such as iron and steel with traditional welding techniques since the 1970’s, these new works possess a playful lightness that is less common in the artist’s oeuvre.
In this series, Lowe has decided to leave the joining process visible, exposing the bolts where the sheets of metal have been attached – in turn the nuts and bolts become crucial to the sculptors’ visual language. The artist also includes colour, most notably blues, pinky reds, golds and whites, a marked change from earlier works.
After the 1960s, and the New Generation sculpture, Lowe along with many other sculptors felt as though colour had been somewhat overdone. Consequently, he decided to use provocative colours which posed a challenge to his artistic technique. This challenge then became intrinsic to his creative process. Lowe ended up appreciating how the use of colour and contrasting tones enabled him to exaggerate the layering effect of his sculptures.
Alongside this significant body of work will be small-scale works and jewellery, which Lowe insists are never maquettes for bigger pieces, but rather sculptures in their own right.
Another new departure for the exhibition has been a collaboration with Kipp Gresham at the Print Studio in Cambridge to create a series of new screen-prints. In line with the large-scale works, these brightly coloured works on paper explore layers, space, and texture and have an extraordinary three-dimensional quality to them.
The shift in Lowe’s work can be attributed in part to his move to the Lime Works in Faversham in 2015, a former water-purification plant built in 1937 (shown here, and at top of page Jeff Lowe at work in the Lime Works, photo © Paul Murphy). The house which is constructed of two monumental cylindrical forms, has been restored by Lowe over the past three years, and is made up of living and working spaces where Lowe is influenced by the surrounding architecture and landscape. The building’s interior earthy tones which draw on the artist’s love for the Algarve, and the circular forms of the house are echoed in Lowe’s sculptures.
Lowe has been making sculpture since the age of 15 and refused other compulsory art classes such as life drawing when he attended Leicester art school. Between 1971-75 Lowe studied at Central Saint Martin’s under the tutelage of William Tucker, Philip King and Anthony Caro and was subsequently a student of ‘The New Generation’ of British sculptures.
During his time at Saint Martins he was awarded his first solo exhibition at Leicester Galleries in London’s Cork Street. He later went on to to represent Britain at the Paris Biennale and has exhibited his work in group shows at the Hayward Gallery, Arts Council, British Council, Serpentine Gallery and Ikon Gallery.
This will be Jeff Lowe’s second major solo exhibition at Pangolin London.