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  • TCAF

Peter Lowe

Peter Lowe participated to 2013 TCAF residency at Lagamas.

artist at work
Peter Lowe, Lagamas, 2013

Born in 1938 in Hackney, East London, U.K. – Lives and works in South London.

Peter Lowe studied at Goldsmiths’ College from 1954 to 60 where he was taught by British Constructivists Mary and Kenneth Martin. He taught at Leeds College of Art from 1962 to 1964, then lectured at Goldsmiths’ College School of Art until 2000. He was a teaching assistant to Kenneth Martin at the annual Barry Summer School (1963-68).

Lowe’s work is rational, abstract and geometric. After a short figurative period, he started in 1959 experimenting with abstract wood constructions. In 1960 his first geometric reliefs were included among the works of young emerging artists selected for the major exhibition Construction: England: 1950-60 at the Drian Galleries. In 1972 he cofounded the Systems group, leading him to be part of a number of landmark exhibitions notably Systems (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1972), PIER+OCEAN (Hayward Gallery, London, 1980), Construction in Process I (Łódź, Poland, 1981) and more recently Concrete Parallels: Brazilian and British Constructive Art (São Paulo, Brazil, 2012). In 1972-4 he produced his first Volume and Void constructions. Since 1974 he has been a member of the International Workgroup for Constructive Art (Artbeitskreis). In 1974 his work met for the time music, through a collaboration with composer Michael Parsons (piano piece Straightjacket).

When commenting on the rational aspects of his working methods, Lowe ‘admits that feeling and subjectivity are part of them. One has feelings about ideas and ideas about feelings and it is curious that some visual relationships appeal more than others. When it comes to ‘feeling’ I am not thinking of pathos or the ‘The Crying Gypsy’ painting. Feeling taps into life’s experiences and desires and, like personal taste, is seldom accessible to reason. I can elaborate how and why one shape fits with another but not everyone shares my excitement about this and likewise I might not be able to empathise with their obsessions either. Mathematics and certain kinds of ‘abstract art’ are similar but fundamentally different activities. They share concerns for pattern for example. There are exceptions but abstract artists are not usually interested in trying to prove theorems but neither artists nor mathematicians are able to entirely dispense with metaphor. The fact that we can designate one thing to stand for another is deeply imbedded in ways of thinking and seeing.’

Lowe’s works are represented in major public collections in Latin America, Eastern Europe, France, Italy and the UK, including the Arts Council Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate Britain.



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