The return of the Wadsworth Atheneum
s MATRIX contemporary art series continues this summer with a new, site-specific installation by New York artist Justin Lowe, titled Werewolf Karaoke / MATRIX 159. Lowes exhibition is comprised of four interconnected rooms that reference aspects of the Wadsworths collection, such as the museums two period rooms, the Austin House, and the adjacent gallery of Surrealist paintings, while reflecting a more contemporary culture, rooted in 1970s psychedelia. The exhibition is on view through September 5, 2010.
The seemingly disparate rooms in Lowes installation a gallery, passageway, video lounge, and restroom connect through visual threads that carry through all four spaces, which is typical of Lowes practice.
Lowe transforms the gallery space through a multi-media collage process that combines video, painting, slide show, and sculpture into a large-scale, experiential work of art. A highlight of the piece is Lowes contemporary approach to the concept of the museum period room, which references the Wadsworths Goodwin and Whetmore parlors, but in the form of a wildly-decorated public restroom, inspired by the notorious graffiti-covered bathroom at CBGB, the legendary New York hardcore and punk rock club.
All of the imagery in the exhibition is in a state of dissolution, Lowe said. Hidden elements are revealed, but as they attain clarity they are once again obscured by an image emerging from beneath, similar to the classic werewolf transformation scene, which plays out metaphorically throughout the exhibition.
Justin Lowe was born in 1976 in Dayton, OH and lives and works in New York City. He has been exhibiting since 2000, creating installation "environments" like gallery-lounges, cluttered house interiors and for his 2006 solo show at Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery, New York an intricately stocked bodega and Mister Softee truck. Most recently Mr. Lowe has been collaborating with Jonah Freeman on an elaborate labyrinthine environment exploring the community ritual and psychoses surrounding the historical trajectory of meth culture from its separatist hippie roots and its ties to global alchemy, at such places as Ballroom Marfa and Deitch Projects.