Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.

Robin Lowe: Way of the Sea

Robin Lowe: Way of the Sea

when i left home, the sky split open wide by robin lowe

Robin Lowe

When I Left Home, the Sky Split Open Wide, 2009

god knows i need you, god knows i care by robin lowe

Robin Lowe

God Knows I Need You, God Knows I Care, 2011

via maris iv by robin lowe

Robin Lowe

Via Maris IV, 2013

pink road by robin lowe

Robin Lowe

Pink Road, 2012

my ship has been split to splinters and it's sinking fast by robin lowe

Robin Lowe

My Ship Has Been Split to Splinters and It's Sinking Fast, 2011

celebration du bateau by robin lowe

Robin Lowe

Celebration du Bateau, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013Saturday, November 2, 2013

New York, NY USA

This is Robin Lowe’s second exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg and it represents a stride toward the metaphoric and beyond the more specific narrative content of the previous show in 2008. Those works took inspiration from the novel and film On the Beach, a harrowing story of the imminent extinction of life following a doomsday barrage of atomic bombs in the Northern Hemisphere. It is set on the southern coast of Australia during the months before the radioactive fallout reached the last people alive on earth.

The final painting in that exhibition depicted an ordinary fishing boat on the water. It was impossible to know if it was moored or moving, occupied or not, but the context of the show suggested a permanently empty vessel. In hindsight, this painting was a breakthrough in Robin Lowe’s development and gave rise to a more fluid, imaginative and at times surrealistic series of paintings.

The paintings in Robin Lowe’s current exhibition share a distinctive sense of place – where beach meets sea and sea meets sky. The fishing boats and sailboats have become mirages dematerializing into thin air. Roads wind over dunes and jut into rocky shores, their destinations unknown. The journey might be to Robin’s past, through his attachment to Cape Cod, his memories of the light and the lay of the land. It could also be that the boats are not dissolving but materializing, and we might think of the roads as originating at the shore, not ending there. The title of the exhibition, Way of the Sea (or Via Maris) refers to an ancient trade route along the Red Sea that also suggests a feeling of timelessness.

In a nod to Courbet’s L’Origine du monde, one of Lowe’s characteristically confrontational female figures straddles a sailboat’s gunwale, unclothed but for the towel wrapped around her hair, her gaze directed at the viewer, her legs spread and her hand resting on her apparently protective companion, a large German Shepherd.

Lowe borrowed the title for that painting, Knife in the Water, from a tense psychosexual drama filmed by Roman Polanski in 1962 in which a young stranger vies for the attention of an older man’s wife during an afternoon sail.

This large work is accompanied in the exhibition by a second nearly life-size female figure pulling a t-shirt down over her breasts. These paintings connect the current body of work with the most continuous aspect of Lowe’s work, his penetrating and often discomfiting portrayals of adolescents and children, women and men, formerly based on family photographs, now apparently conjured into existence by the artist himself.

This conjuring often begins in the form of works on paper that Lowe draws constantly. A line on a page might capture a distinctive face briefly glimpsed and remembered; then Lowe creates individualized identities for his subjects. They appear as singles and as couples, and sometimes become studies for paintings. A selection of these drawings will be included in the exhibition along with thirteen paintings.

Robin Lowe was born in 1959 in Providence, Rhode Island. He received a masters degree from NYU in 1985 and has had sixteen solo exhibitions since then at the A/C Project Room, Tanya Bonakdar and Lennon, Weinberg in New York, Victoria Miro in London, Marc Foxx in Los Angeles and at Reflex Modern Art in Amsterdam. He received a fellowship from the New York State Foundation for the Arts in 2002 and is co-founder of Art Crating, one of the most expert art services companies in New York. In 1987, he also co-founded the A/C Project Room, which was a favorite destination of many artists and critics and served as a launching pad for the careers of several artists of Lowe’s generation.