Jean Lowe

Books and Ideas in an Age of Anxiety


Jean Lowe, who lives and works in San Diego, paints our contemporary social and physical environment onto a variety of straightforwardly constructed sculptural representations of common objects like furniture, plates, and books. Her critique is both seductive and subversive. There is a great sense of touch, delight, and physical engagement in her use of paint, creating a similar expectation for the image, the content, which is then subverted by a sometimes biting critique of our exploitation of the environment, of other species and of each other.

Byers Hall, like the other buildings at Mission Bay, has several internal lobbies designed to promote interaction between scientists, and these were fitted with display cabinets. Lowe re-configured these cabinets to create a more open space, and she outfitted them with more than 90 original, painted books covering all manner of actual, invented and subverted subjects, ranging from "The Death of Painting" to "Premature Articulation" to "String Theory." These straightforward and engaging painterly objects can be understood in many different ways when compared to each other and to the group as a whole.