|"Night Owls" 72" x 92.75" Oil on Canvas
The setting for this work is a boudoir scene
from Jean-Honore Fragonard’s drawing, Les
Jets d’eau, c.1765-70, wherein nozzles have
emerged from the floor spraying water,
awaking sleeping nude female figures. Lowe
exaggerates the imagery in this mildly erotic
drawing by replacing the nozzles with
phalluses, and adds figures from his own
|imagination. The fleshed-out children in Victorian dress are referenced from
Antoine Watteau’s painting Country Amusements, c.1720. Lowe’s imagined ghostly
apparitions, or owl bottomed ladies, amusingly illustrate the common colloquial
term night owls.
-There many a bird of broadest pinion built
Secure her nest, the owl, the kite, and daw
Long-tongued, frequenter of the sandy shores.
A garden-vine luxuriant on all sides
Mantled the spacious cavern, cluster-hung
Profuse; four fountains of serenest lymph
Their sinuous course pursuing side by side,
Stray’d all around, and ev’ry where appear’d. . .
. . . heav’n’s messenger, admiring stood
That sight, and having all survey’d, at length
Enter’d the grotto; nor the lovely nymph
Him knew not soon as seen, for not unknown
Each to the other the Immortals are,
How far soever sep’rate their abodes.
The Odyssey of Homer (Book V. p.110)
Translated by Henry Fuseli