Shelley Lowell is a painter, sculptor and poet. Originally from New York City, she was born in the Bronx, NY in 1946. She started drawing as a youth and has been creating ever since. She has maintained a high level of creativity with parallel artistic careers as both a visual artist and a visual communicator. Her commercial work and her fine art have won numerous awards and have been published in over a dozen books and publications.
She began writing poetry in her youth but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that her poems flourished. She has been performing them since 1996. Many have been published in books and online. Her art and poetry are her way to communicate her inner-self and her reactions to her surroundings. Her artistic ability was developed over the last 40+ years expressed as contemporary artwork with an edge, a statement and a message.
Early in her artistic career (1970s), her art earned her the label of New York City feminist representational and social commentary visual artist as she produced monumental original artwork and poetry exploring her femininity as well as a counter statement to what she felt were demeaning aspects of the sexual revolution of the period.
In 1973 her feminist art was in the company of notable feminist artist, Judy Chicago in a six-woman group show at a The Erotic Art Gallery in New York City. In 1975, she, along with notable feminist artists – Miriam Schapiro, Joan Semmel, Anne Sharp, Linda Benglis, Agnes Denes, Hannah Wilke, Sylvia Sleigh and Judith Bernstein to name a few – were in an important exhibit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, “The Year of the Woman.” Her work has hung out with the best. A quick search on the Elizabeth A. Sackler Feminist Art Base on the Brooklyn Museum web site and you’ll find her.
Shelley Lowell is an under-recognized feminist artist with recognizably important work. This early work has been in museum and gallery exhibits and published in feminist art journals and publications. Biographical information and image of one of her paintings is in Women Artists of America II.
At first, you may not see an obvious relationship between her early work and her current work. Her style and content have changed. Upon closer scrutiny, you’ll notice that throughout her artistic career, she has maintained a thread of communicating messages or making statements in her art due, no doubt, to her studying Advertising Design & Visual Communications at Pratt Institute, where she graduated with a BFA. Her messages and statements have changed as she has grown artistically and personally, but her statements have always been about humanity and the human condition. She has always remained an innovator in her art.
Ms. Lowell continued her figurative fine art quest while maintaining a successful advertising agency first in NYC (1974-77), later in Atlanta, GA (1977-96). Shortly after moving to Asheville, NC (1996-1998), where she owned a gallery and curated the exhibitions, her artworks changed into a non-representational, abstracted style, which continued through 2003. These paintings, which, seemed like abstract works, were, in fact, visions and spiritual concepts, which she felt compelled to paint.
In her current paintings with their inspired poetry, she uses metaphor such as her stylized tree as a symbol of humanity or a symbol of the world humanity inhabits, creating the duality of the seen and the unseen, metaphorically and in reality. Both convey a message through its subject, scale and its under laid composition and atmosphere. Her paintings with their poems impart messages and statements about the human condition and the plight of the planet through the eyes of nature.
Shelley’s first solo show of her current work was in a Baltimore, MD gallery (2005) where she received a favorable review in the Baltimore Sun. Her work has been in solo, two-person and group shows in New York City, the Washington, DC metropolitan area including Virginia and Maryland, Atlanta, GA. Asheville, NC and the New England area.
Her work is in corporate collections including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (NYC), Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville (GA) and the Dr. Pepper Company (TX), and private collections as well. She is in Clara, the woman’s art database and the Archive Library of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC), and WAAND, the feminist woman artists data base at Rutgers University as well as the Elizabeth A. Sackler Feminist Art Base on the Brooklyn Museum website.