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Gemma Lowe

MA work


  • Gemma Lowe
  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Painting, 2014

  • My practice and research is an exploration of the production of meaning that occurs in everyday language. There is rich potential in the misheard and the misread. The way in which these occurrences are echoed in the instinctual mark making of painting can be an opportunity to create dialogue. Here, alternative registers and rhythms emerge that are not only explicit in painting, but applied and explored in sound and installation as a way to linking it back to my experience of the everyday.

    In my current practice, fragments of the past enter pieces as motifs that can then animate new fictions. I have many diverse influences in my work which have many qualities in common, such as sampling from different sources; incidental marks in the studio and news reports, reconfiguring and openly exploring symbols and systems, marks and motifs that I sample. In this way, my work is about conveying a sense of the slippery space between fact/fiction and past/present and generates playful meanings that point to the absurdity in a world supposedly ordered by logic and reason.

    I use the transmutable qualities of oil paint to try to articulate an experience of searching for natural phenomena. Through different experiments on canvas and wood, I challenge the inherent nature of colour, for example the RGB model that is traditionally used for light not paint. Leaving some of the thought process visible in the change of direction or tactic mirror odd shifts in language as if the brush is the stroke of a tongue. Sometimes colourful language communicates nothing other than its ability to speak out. A recurring motif emerges through this process: head, a horse or a fist, a shape that conveys a performance or a gesture. I use these figures and motifs to suggest narratives, but in the chaotic painted space their familiar meaning falls away and resembles something absurd. Through this they offer up questions as they sit at the intersection of becoming – a liminal space creating an experience of viewing that is slow paced and contemplative in order to allow the viewer to generate their own narrative. Somewhere, in the breach between observation and imagination is an act of transference, a space to develop new languages and actively interrupt meaning.

  • Degrees

  • BA Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University, 2005
  • Experience

  • Artist lecture, Kingston University, 2014; Artist lecture, University of East London, 2014; School/community workshop artist, London, 2006-present; Artist and workshop co-ordinator, Emergency Exit Arts, London, 2007-12; Education assistant and administrator officer, The National Gallery, London, 2006-present
  • Exhibitions

  • Neuroanatomy, Bocs Gallery, Caernarfon, 2014; You Know, I..., The Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2014; PNTNG NOV, Henry Moore Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2013; Doguyorun, Tuyap Art Fair, Istanbul, 2013; Notes to Self, Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2013; Diseased Brethren, Art Licks Weekend, Asylum, London, 2013; Work-in-progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2013; Animal House, Cephalopod, London, 2012; Salon Art Prize, Matt Roberts Arts, London, 2012; Correos, Galeria Progresso, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2012; Repeat and Reprise, East Gallery, London, 2010; Telling Tales, Mayfair Library, London, 2009; State of Flux, Soup Gallery, London, 2009; Staff Art Exhibition, The National Gallery, London, 2009; Vision and the Void, The Others Gallery, London, 2009; B-Liners, James Taylor Building, London, 2008; Emperia, BA Degree Show, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, 2005; The Experimental Loop, Performance with video, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, 2005; Miscommunication, The End Gallery, Sheffield, 2005
  • Awards

  • Drawing Prize, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, 2002