Jeff Lowe’s sculpture relishes contrast. Working with sheets of steel and aluminium, the curvilinear, perforated forms of his new sculptures combine a strong visual identity with a subtle sensitivity to the landscape – in this case to the parkland at Thirsk Hall in which they have been placed.
Lowe has been working with circular compositions throughout his career and at no time more compellingly so than in these recent sculptures. Revealing themselves in the round - layer by layer, aperture by aperture – his sculptures work on the loop, carrying their viewers around them, while offering a sequentially revealed combination of image, object and experience. They invite us to think about foreground and distance, about things near and far, asking us to appreciate the ambiguities between them, as views are both afforded and partially obstructed. We might read these new sculptures as portals of sorts – not obdurate, monolithic objects, but nimble, multipartite ones, that offer imaginative ways into seeing things.
Lowe has always had a skilled eye for colour and its relationship to sculpture. Each work on display here at Thirsk Hall is either provided with a subtly rusted patina or it is painted. And each of the painted aluminium works includes a carefully chosen palette of colours that work together, layer by layer, in subtle ways. His particular way of thinking through these two and three-dimensional issues has been extended and intensified over the last few years through the making of a number of prints. The relationship between them is fascinating and an increasingly symbiotic one. Sometimes the graphic work echoes the sculpture and, at other times, the prints point to ideas that will be then explored in the larger steel and aluminium works. Several of these unique prints are presented in the new gallery at Thirsk Hall, placed in a dialogue with a number of his maquettes and small sculptures.