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JEFF LOWE

WHITFORD F I N E A R T 6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LONDON SW1Y 6BN TEL.+44(0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com w w w. w h i t f o r d f i n e a r t . c o m


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JEFF LOWE Sculptures 1980–1982

13 September – 4 October 2013

All Works are for Sale

WHITFORD F I N E A R T

6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LONDON SW1Y 6BN TEL. +44 (0)20 7930 9332 EMAIL info@whitfordfineart.com


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Jeff Lowe in his studio, London, 1981

Front cover: Porgaga, 1981 – cat. no. 3 (detail) Contents page: The Artist’s Studio, 1982


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JEFF LOWE, Sculptures 1980–1982

During the early eighties a succession of lorries from the British Steel Corporation arrived at the studio Jeff Lowe, then in his late twenties, had newly built for himself in Charlton, south-east London. They deposited around fifty tonnes of steel in the yard, where it lay in large piles ‘like bonfires.’ The steel originated from mistakes in the production line of the BSC’s Rotherham factory. Toward the end of the process large ingots of steel would be melted in order to be fed through a die which would form them into the required shape. At times, an ingot would miss the die, and then, red hot, would dramatically and often dangerously distort in mid-air, before rapidly cooling and solidifying. The steel that resulted was unique and bent in unpredictable ways – difficult, even impossible, to recreate using conventional means. Its character was somewhere between the organic and the industrial, retaining a memory of the fluidity of its molten state or suggesting the curves of treetrunks. Often physically massive, it could also form sinuous lines, with a sense of strength that belied its relative thinness. The uncontrolled manner in which the material was exposed to the air meant variety of shape was matched by variety of texture. The sculptures made from this steel were first shown in two successful exhibitions at the Nicola Jacobs Gallery in 1981 and 1982. Lowe already had a promising career, exhibiting widely since holding his first solo exhibition whilst still a student at St Martin’s School of Art. In 1975 he exhibited two large steel sculptures at the 9e Biennale de Paris, typical of his early work in their size, neutral facture and architectural stance; the same year, William Tucker, his tutor at St Martin’s, selected him for the important survey The Condition of Sculpture. In 1978 he had a solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, showing sculptures which set carved stone against thin lengths of steel bar that had been welded together to take on a naturalistic appearance, branching like twigs or veins. Following these was a series – shown at the 1979 Hayward Annual – improvised from large lumps of clay; the BSC steel sculptures resulted from a desire to broaden the experience of an improvised approach to volume and mass in sculptures made solely with steel, but without a restriction to the commercially available elements of bar or plate or to ‘found objects’ such as industrial components, agricultural machinery or artisan tools. Throughout the history of constructed steel sculpture, artists have worked in response to a particular source of material. David Smith, one of the central figures in the tradition, spent thirty days in 1963 creating twenty-seven sculptures using what he could find in an abandoned welding factory in the Genoese town of Voltri. In 1972 Anthony Caro, widely seen


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as Smith’s successor, worked at Veduggio near Milan, making sculpture which exploited a stock of thin, rusted and broken-edged steel from a local scrap-yard. With what appears a mixture of practicality, companionship, art-historical positioning and perhaps mysticism, after Smith’s premature death in 1965, Caro acquired a large quantity of steel from the estate for incorporation into his own sculpture. In an interview published in the Hayward Annual catalogue Lowe stated that it was not sufficient to ‘chop up a piece... add and subtract [until] you have arrived at a unique object that looks interesting’. Rather: ‘it is having an idea and expressing it which makes sculpture. Unless the maker is an artist, which means he has something to say, it all falls apart.’ I think we can expand: working with a particular source of material is not a matter of letting it dictate to you but instead a reciprocal process. Material is selected to conform to a particular vision – beginning with an intuition about the nature or possibility of sculpture but aiming to transcend the restrictedly formal. As the material is worked with it modifies the idea, feeding-back into the next selection of material, and so extending the sculptor’s experience of his medium and his ability to handle its expressive range. At the centre of this body of work, and expressed through it, is a conception of sculpture as object. This idea (or this linked set of sculptural possibilities) gave Lowe a particular position in relation to the work of Smith and Caro; without rejecting their work, indeed drawing on much of their language, he incorporated aesthetic attitudes antithetical to theirs. For Smith and Caro, continuing the experiments of Picasso and Gonzalez earlier in the century, sculpture was explicitly not object. Their work privileged an improvised openness over securely defined contour, the denial of weight over the articulation of mass, and the extension of parts through space over closed or occupied volume. Though it recalls the ancient obduracy of standing stones or monoliths, sculpture as object within modern sculpture had its roots in Rodin. It found its fullest expression in the sculpture of Brancusi, and was an important constituent of the New Generation sculpture made in Britain in the sixties, particularly within the work of Philip King and Tucker. The latter’s 1976 book The Language of Sculpture asserted that sculpture as object was a lineage as valid as that stemming from Picasso-Gonzalez-Smith-Caro, and implicitly distinguished its sense of ‘objecthood’ from that of minimalist sculpture. For Tucker, in part quoting Rilke, ‘object’ implied a work of art ‘isolated from the spectator as through a non-conducting vacuum... an ideal condition of self-contained, self-generating apartness... with its own rules, its own order, its own materials, independent of its maker, of its audience and of the world in general.’ What is austere and remote in this description


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is tempered in Tucker’s writing by a valuing of the unostentatious as well as a stress on the humanly-scaled and on structure resulting from the clear, pragmatic craftsmanship of the factory or the workshop. Lowe’s own merging of the otherworldly with the direct and matter-of-fact is most apparent in the cropping that is a feature of all the sculptures. With an industrial scale band-saw he began by cutting intriguing sections from the steel delivered by BSC, with more complex forms made with a profile-cutter. After these had been welded together – into small dense clusters, larger configurations, or near complete sculptures – Lowe would use the band-saw to cut across a number of different parts. The process was a complex and fast-moving one, exploiting the variety of tools and machinery offered by his new studio, with as many as seven or eight sculptures being worked upon at any one time. At times the band-saw’s cuts emphasize the fact that the parts are joined together by making them constituent elements of a single sheer surface; elsewhere a set of loosely entwined lines are abruptly terminated. The band-saw’s cuts have a sense of neutrality, a distance both from the particular curves of the steel and from any sense of the activity of the hand. Each of the cuts is emphatic, certain, but this decisiveness brings its own productive ambiguity. The suggestion of an extension beyond the sculpture’s limits paradoxically enforces these limits, creating a surface – both actual and illusionistic, made of steel and made of space – that is tensed between expansion and contraction. Within the volume defined by this surface the pieces of steel delivered by BSC are no longer randomly produced lumps of stuff but become animated or at least locked into a kind of stasis, as sets of formal relations based upon but overcoming the material from which they are formed. Samuel Cornish, July 2013


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1.

Aru Iya

2.

Oba

3.

Porgaga

4.

Kanaga

5.

Janus

6.

Janus II

7.

Janus IV

8.

Janus V

9.

Janus VI

10.

WORKS

Juno

All works are stamped and dated


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1. Aru Iya 1980 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 80 x 54 x 45 cm EXHIBITED: 1981, Jeff Lowe: New Sculpture, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London LITERATURE: Jeff Lowe: New Sculpture, exhibition catalogue, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London, 1981, cat. no. 5, ill.


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2. Oba 1980 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 150 x 68 x 55 cm EXHIBITED: 1981, Jeff Lowe: New Sculpture, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London LITERATURE: Jeff Lowe: New Sculpture, exhibition catalogue, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London,1981, cat. no. 1, ill.


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3. Porgaga 1981 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 84 x 61 x 51 cm EXHIBITED: 1982, Jeff Lowe: Sculptures 1981, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London 1985, Victoria Munroe Gallery, New York 1990, Philippe Staib Gallery, New York LITERATURE: Jeff Lowe: Sculptures 1981, exhibition catalogue, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London, 1982, cat. no. 6, ill.


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4. Kanaga 1981 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 170 x 46 x 33 cm EXHIBITED: 1982, Jeff Lowe: Sculptures 1981, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London 1982, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury 1983, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia 1986, Rossmore Sculpture Park, Sydney, Australia LITERATURE: Jeff Lowe: Sculpture 1981, exhibition catalogue, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London, 1982, cat. no. 8, ill.


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5. Janus 1982 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 145 x 57 x 38 cm PROVENANCE: Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London


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6. Janus II 1982 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 111 x 38 x 23 cm PROVENANCE: Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London


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7. Janus IV 1982 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 146 x 64 x 40 cm PROVENANCE: Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London


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8. Janus V 1982 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 118 x 43 x 24 cm PROVENANCE: Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London


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9. Janus VI 1982 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 190 x 87 x 44 cm PROVENANCE: Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London


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10. Juno 1982 Mild steel, zinc coated and painted 117 x 50.8 x 55.9 cm PROVENANCE: Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London EXHIBITED:

1986, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia 1986, Rossmore Sculpture Park, Sydney, Australia


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BIOGRAPHY 1952

Born, Lancashire

1971-75 St. Martinʼs School of Art 1970-71 Leicester College of Art Lives and works in London and Portugal AWARDS/RESIDENCES 1994

Short-listed for Hakoni Prize, Japan

1993

Pollock-Krasner Award, New York, USA

1978

Artist in residence, Prahran College, Melbourne, Australia

1977

Artist in residence, Mermer Stone Quarry, Serbia

1976

GLAA Award

1975

Sainsbury Award

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2012

ArtCatto Gallery, Loulé, Portugal

2011

Small Scale, Gallery 27 Cork Street, London One-Man Show, Vale do Lobo Art Gallery, Algarve, Portugal

2010

Building Space: A Collection of Recent Sculpture, The Gallery in Cork Street, London

2009

Recent Sculptures and Drawings, Glynde House, London

2008

Drawn Out, Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA

2007

Drawn Out: Sculpture & Drawing, Whitecross Gallery, London The Paper Flag Series, Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA

2006

Sculpture and Drawings, No. 6 Havelock Walk, London

2005

Sculpture Commission for Chinese Government, Beijing, China

12 x 12, Guild House, South Bermondsey, London Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA 2004

Recent Sculpture, No. 6 Havelock Walk, London

2003

Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA

2002

Galeria Convento Espirito Santo, Loule, Portugal

Recent Sculpture, Quinta do Louredo, Portugal

Gallery Saam, Amsterdam, Holland 2001

Galerias Municipais De Arte, Trem Gallery, Faro, Portugal Havelock Gallery, London

1994

Austin Desmond, London Maak Gallery, London

1992

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Austin Desmond and Phipps, London Maak Gallery, London

1987

Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia

1986

Castlefield Gallery, Manchester


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Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London 1983

Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

1982

Jeff Lowe: Sculptures 1981, Nicolas Jacobs Gallery, London

1981

Jeff Lowe: New Sculpture, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

1978

Serpentine Gallery, London

1977

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

1974

Leicester Galleries, London

GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2013

Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London

2012

Small is Beautiful, Flowers Gallery, London Sculptorsʼ Drawings and Works on Paper, Pangolin Gallery, London Culture, HAC, Harrow Art To Dance with Mayuri Boonham, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton

2011/12 Small is Beautiful, Flowers Gallery, London

United Enemies, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds 2011/13 Westminster: City of Sculpture, Berkeley Square, London Olympics 2011/12 2011

London Group Open Exhibition 2011, Cello Factory, London Nord Art 2011, Nord Art, Kunstwerk Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, Germany A Decade of Sculpture in the Garden, Harold Martin Botanic Gardens University of Leicester Uncaught Hares, Stephen Lawrence Gallery and Clifford Chance Gallery, London

2010/11 COLECTIVA, Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal 2010

The London Group Annual Exhibition 2010, The Cello Factory, London, UK

2008

Journeys, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK

2008

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

2007

Summer Show, Royal Academy of Arts, London

2006

Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

Sculptors Drawings, Vale do Lobo Art Gallery, Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Defined Art Limited, Surrey, UK Vale do Lobo, Almancil, Portugal 2005

In memory of Volker, Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Summer Show, Royal Academy of Arts, London 1979, Bloomberg SPACE, London

2004

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

2003

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA Vale do Lobo, Almancil, Portugal Gallery Josine Bockhoven, Amsterdam, Holland Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA


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2002

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Vale do Lobo, Almancil, Portugal Robert Steele Gallery, New York, USA

Interim, Gallery Josine Bockhoven, Amsterdam, Holland Free Choice, Gallery Josine Bockhoven, Amsterdam, Holland Art in the Landscape, Gallery Saam, Oss, Holland Kunstrai 2002, Gallery Josine Bockhoven, Amsterdam, Holland Statement Stand, Guggenheim, Venice, Italy 2001

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Vale do Lobo, Almancil, Portugal

2000

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Vale do Lobo, Almancil, Portugal

1999

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Vale do Lobo, Almancil, Portugal

1998

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal Hunts Point Sculpture Park, New York, USA

1997

Galleria Convento Espirito Santo, Loule, Portugal

1996

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

1995

Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

Contemporary Sculpture, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London 1994

Cologne Art Fair, (represented by Maak Gallery, London and Bodo Niemann Gallery, Berlin, Germany)

British Drawing, ISIS Gallery, London Lead and Follow, Atlantis Gallery, London 1992

British Art Fair, London

The Spirit of Modernism, Austin Desmond and Phipps, London Painting and Sculpture, Maak Gallery, London First Choice, Galleria Josine Bockhoven, Amsterdam, Holland Jacques Caplan Sculpture Garden, Kent CT, USA Philip Staib Gallery, New York, USA Lineart, Gent, Belgium Maak Gallery, London 1991

Hunts Point Sculpture Park, New York, USA Gallery Josine Bockhoven, Amsterdam, Holland Galleria Internacional de Arte, Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Faro, Portugal

ICAF, Austin Desmond Gallery, London 1990

The National Gallery, Melbourne, Australia Galleria Internacional de Arte, Faro, Portugal Philip Staib Gallery, New York, USA

1989

Galeria Internacional de Arte, Faro, Portugal

1988

Waddington and Shiell Gallery, Toronto, Canada


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Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London 1987

Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

1986

Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London 1985

Gallery A, Sydney Australia

Studio Visits, Victoria Munroe Gallery, London 1984

Summer Exhibition, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

1983

Collaboration,' Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

1982

The South Bank Show, South London Art Gallery, London Jeff Lowe, John McLean, Mali Morris, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London Hayward Annual, Hayward Gallery, London Sculpture at the Park, Cheltenham Sculptors Drawings, Midland Group Gallery, Nottingham Sculpture, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Contemporary Choice, Serpentine Gallery, London

1981

Summer Exhibition, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

1980

Nature as Material, Arts Council of Great Britain Purchase Exhibition (Touring Exhibition)

1980

Sculpture, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

1979

Style in the Seventies, selected by Ben Jones (Touring Exhibition) Hayward Annual, Hayward Gallery, London The First Exhibition, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London

1978

Spring Show, Serpentine Gallery, London New Sculpture, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Certain Traditions, (British Council Touring Exhibition), Canada and England

1977

Painters, Sculptors-Drawing, Greenwich Theatre Gallery, London Queen Elizabeth始s Silver Jubilee Exhibition in Microcosm, Redfern Gallery, London Queen Elizabeth始s Silver Jubilee Exhibition, Battersea Park, London

1975

Sculpture at Greenwich, Outdoor Sculpture, Greenwich, London The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery, London 9e Biennale de Paris, Mus茅e D始art Moderne, Paris, France

1974

New Contemporaries, Camden Arts Centre, London Six Sculptors, Chelsea Gallery, London British Sculptors-Attitudes to Drawing, Sunderland Arts Centre, Australia


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All artworks © Whitford Fine Art Text © Samuel Cornish Edited by An Jo Fermon Curated by Gabriel Toso Photography of pp 2 and 6, cat. no. 4 and cat. no. 10, Carlos Granger Produced by Artmedia Press Ltd • London


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JEFF LOWE

WHITFORD F I N E A R T 6 DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LONDON SW1Y 6BN TEL.+44(0)20 7930 9332 info@whitfordfineart.com w w w. w h i t f o r d f i n e a r t . c o m

Jeff Lowe - Sculptures 1980 - 82  

Made during the early eighties, the sculptures draw on the legacy of the constructed steel sculpture of Anthony Caro and David Smith. Lowe c...