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|"Les Animateurs" Oil on Canvas 42" x 56" 2010
This exhibition represents my continuing influences and fascination with eighteenth and early
nineteenth century artists such as Fuseli, Blake, Romney, and their contemporaries. Dynamic
compositions, powerful narratives, and sensually drawn lines are indicative to the work of all
great artists during this time. Henry Fuseli's drawing Symplegma (c.1809-10) one of his more
erotic, I found to be a perfect example of this, representing all of these traits. The drawing
depicts a scene of choreographed nudes; three women, and a prostrate man. It is both
illustratively titillating and masterfully academic, an aesthetical contrast I utilize in my new
body of work of the same title.
The word symplegma, from the Greek, is defined as a complex group, entangled, or
intertwined. Many classical sculptures, paintings, and drawings of amorous wresting couples,
even groupings of an anomalous, bestial sort, have been affixed this title. Befittingly, this
term is used to title the more erotic drawings and studies taken from the sketch-books of
eighteenth and early nineteenth century Masters, including Fuseli and his circle. Given the
blatant subject matter of these works, many of them could be viewed as mildly pornographic,
despite their overriding references to classical mythology and literature. Accordingly, I have
developed my paintings in this way, referencing a variety of amorous scenes and contrasted
them with fragments of classical paintings that radically exaggerate and reinforce these new
narratives. I have gathered this variety of diverse imagery as an investigation into the more
tantalizing aspects of painting, both in subject, and craft. The narratives of these works
reference history, philosophy, mythology, allegory, psychology, and sexuality. Along with the
variety of conceptual aspects, the works contain a variety of painting techniques as well.
Expressive color fields, figurative and free-formed abstraction, action painting, and revealing
the processes of various painting styles pull the imagery across the centuries from the classical
to the contemporary.
For this exhibition I was greatly inspired by the painters Rubens, van Dyke, Watteau,
Boucher, and Ingres, and have learned a great deal from them through referencing fragments
of their works. I find the technical ability of these artists to be inspiring, challenging, and a
functional contrast to the mannerist lines of narrative drawing and illustration which I also
include in my work. The conception of these paintings has been a wresting of entangled and
opposing imagery born into an exhibition of new works entitled: Symplegma.
|A Collection Of New Works By Michael Allen Lowe
K A N S A S C I T Y M I S S O U R I
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