Battle at the River Bottom
Drawings and Videos by Kristen Lowe at The Hillstrom Museum of Art
The Hillstrom Museum of Art is pleased to present Battle at the River Bottom: Drawings and Videos by Kristen Lowe. Lowe is an associate professor in the department of art and art history at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she has taught since 2007.
Battle at the River Bottom features a new body of work utilizing new materials and processes. In these “carved drawings,” Lowe hand carves, into sanded and richly-painted soft basswood, intricate patterned, animal-occupied compositions to generate dimensional landscape “drawings” into which she nestles detailed charcoal scenes. Also exhibited with these “carved drawings” are works featuring eagles, osprey, and vintage postage stamps. Lowe notes the influence of Scandinavian ballads on her work, which represent her deep longing to integrate her aesthetic education as an artist growing up in the United States with her Scandinavian heritage. Her thoughts and goals for the works in this exhibition are further indicated in her Artist Statements that follow.
The Museum is grateful to Lowe for sharing her engaging, intriguing, and beautiful works, and for discussing her works in two Gallery Talks being given in the exhibition. We also thank the Mattson Collection, the Swift Collection, and the Yates Collection for lending works for Battle at the River Bottom.
Most of the works in Battle at the River Bottom are available for purchase directly from the artist, who will donate 50% of the sales price sold from the exhibition to one of 3 recipients: A scholarship set up for Gustavus College studio art majors, Habitat for Humanity, or a charity chosen by the buyer.
More than ever, it is a sense of connection with the natural world we crave. Stories emerge as we coexist alongside creatures in the landscape. In challenging moments, these shared and interactive experiences with various species bring us home to what Carl Jung referred to as the “animal body.” Whenever possible, I cherish opportunities when I can emerge from the technology swamp, which has never described the world in which we live, to patiently work in the landscape over an extended period of time. Observing an array of vivid sensory details brings greater integration of the human psyche and instinctual animal modalities. When we reconnect with elemental forces, we can explore our childlike imagination, and a visceral, powerful wholeness innate, moving through all things.
Kristen Lowe was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Growing up she summer-schooled at her grandparent’s farm in southern Minnesota. She completed her BFA in Fine Art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and earned her MFA in Fine Art and Filmmaking in 1991 from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Lowe’s drawings and films have been exhibited and screened in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Paris. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, she was awarded funding from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation to complete documentaries on artists Ray Chen, Andrew Hellmund, and Jacob Stanley. Her drawings are in private and public collections. She has earned several public art awards and public grants, and has served as an art juror for over three decades. Her feature length documentary, Painting the Place Between, premiered at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2012 and was regularly broadcast on PBS for several years. Lowe has served on the Board of Governors at Form + Content Gallery in Minneapolis since 2019. She spent her first dozen years teaching at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, at the University of Minnesota, and others. Lowe is an Associate Professor of Studio Art and Art History at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.