the work----->
Michael Allen Lowe
the work
the artist
exhibitions
michaelallenlowe@yahoo.com
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Lazaria                                                                                              Oil on Canvas 63" x 72"  2008
A Collection Of New Works By Michael Allen Lowe
N E W  Y O R K  C I T Y
2008
Exhibition Statement
I have been heavily influenced by the subjects of eighteenth and early nineteenth
century illustrators Fuseli, Blake, Romney, and Goya.  Especially by the fragile
mortality of humanity that is a reoccurring theme for each of these artists.  One
image in particular, Henry Fuseli’s
Vision of the Lazar House, c.1790-4, I found to be
a dramatic and powerful representation of this human drama.  The work illustrates a
scene from Milton’s
Paradise Lost in which the Archangel Michael is revealing to
Adam the horrid future of humanity.

Lazar Houses were early hospitals named after the Biblical Lazarus and
administrated by the Catholic Church.  These houses of plague and various illnesses
were often isolated buildings used to control the spread of communicable diseases.
The term later resurfaced as lazaret or lazaretto, a building, island, or anchored ship
which serves as a quarantine station for maritime travelers.  I find the conceptual idea
of the lazaretto fascinating.  I imagine a cross-section of gender, age, social status,
ethnicity, religion, and politics, being inspected; observed, and waiting in a kind of
purgatory.  I develop my paintings in this way, referencing imagery from a variety of
master works; painting, literature, sculpture, illustrations, and gather them for
careful inspection and close observation as if they were souls in a lazaret forced to
occupy the same space.

These fragments of Master works are juxtaposed with popular illustration narratives
of Henry Fuseli and his contemporaries.  I gather this variety of diverse imagery to
mirror dramatic and complex scenes of human drama.  The narratives of these works
reference history, philosophy, mythology, allegory, sexuality, and psychology.  I often
exaggerate or reinterpret a referenced works original narrative by utilizing
contemporary painting techniques such as: expressive color fields, figurative and free-
formed abstraction, action painting, and the freedom to reveal process.

I am greatly inspired by master painters Rubens, Van Dyke, and Velázquez and I
have learned a great deal from them through referencing fragments of their works .  I
find the technical ability of these artists to be inspiring and largely dismissed and
forgotten by contemporary artists.  I also feel in a way I am reviving or bringing new
life to this old and potentially dead imagery.  Although the works themselves are
secular, hopefully some element, if only a bit of masterful craft will be revived in this
conceptual lazaret of human drama, an exhibition of new work entitled
Lazaria.