Nate Lowman "Rain the Painforest" @ Maccarone, NYCJuxtapoz // Thursday, 10 Apr 2014
Nate Lowman opened his fourth solo show, Rain the Painforest, at Maccarone last week. 'A flower. A leaf. A rock. A stem. A heart. A shape. A stain. A drip. A memory. A State. An egg in a pan. Lowman presents new works that embark on a significant departure from his previous icons. In lieu of meditations on pop culture and political instants, and canvases shaped after generic symbols of mass-consumption and cultural artifacts, Lowman's works here conjure states of memory, modeled on the soft edges of the hand-drawn. Eliminating the reliance on the readymade, Lowman utilizes nature as a lens of fragmented recollection after years of urban experience to explore the fragile ecology of the mind. Cutaway forms punctuate the room. A symbolic locus can be found in This Is Your Brain On Drugs Again, where scraps of other canvases drape atop a newspaper image of an egg in a frying pan, hinting at a changing psychological narrative akin to the iconic 1980's anti-drug commercial it references. Flowers derived from hand-drawn sketches take on a tweaked representative quality when installed with a stem element, yet move toward doodling abstraction when installed without, as in Heart Flower. Other shapes include a pink heart and an apple leaf rendered in grey. The leaf is a snippet of Lowman's old lexicon, the Apple logo. Isolated from the logo as a whole, the Apple leaf takes on a sort of anonymity, stripped and returned to an essential rendering of what may be any leaf, a stylized punctuation mark, or even a pause. Lowman's palette here is subdued, yet retains a quality of the saccharine - at times decidedly so, as in a Wisconsin-shaped canvas with a translucent green finish. In Wisconsin Cairn (Lake Flannery) a formation of rocks sits tranquilly in baby pink and powder blue water. The painting's delicate pastel colors suggest gently rippling waters in the late afternoon sun, a scene rendered in fine pointillism, both sentimental and haunting.
Nate Lowman was born in 1979 in Las Vegas, and lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include the Brant Foundation, Greenwich CT (2012), The American Academy, Rome (2011), and the Astrup Fearnley, Oslo (2009), among others. He has participated in dozens of group shows at numerous institutions, including P.S.1/MOMA, The Serpentine Gallery, The New Museum, The Guggenheim, and Palais de Tokyo.