Chromarray features work from Constance Lowe’s series Garden City (Air to Ground), FabCom and Chromarray. Lowe’s work examines the intersection between natural and human-constructed environments, both mental and physical, as well as formal concerns in abstraction and the agency of color. Lowe’s most recent series, Garden City (Air to Ground) (2015) takes its inspiration from circular and gridded NASA satellite photos of Midwestern fields. The landscapes contain personal connotations for Lowe that represent land once owned by her family. Lowe uses a range of materials in her work that blend the natural and artificial such as dyed calfskin, wool felt, translucent drafting film, and photographic reproductions of clouds.
Lowe describes the sensory affects her use of natural and human-created materials have on viewers. She states:
“These elements are used to push, displace and layer the shapes and space of flat land patterns to charge formal structure with perceptual dislocation and sensory engagement, suggesting how our natural environment and our relationship to it is increasingly distanced, contingent and abstract.”
Lowe’s earlier body of work, FabCom and Chromarray (2000-212), also takes its inspiration from abstraction. It examines how such forms are shaped by natural motifs, medical imaging, and botany. The designs are reminiscent of ink blots and genetic patterns. When creating the felt pieces, Lowe started with indeterminate, amorphous shapes in order to avoid any subconscious associations. Although they were not intended to mirror Rorschach ink blots, many viewers immediately made the connection. Lowe explains that Rorschach blots are commonly misidentified and do not mirror the ten official inkblots used in the test. Lowe states, “Like clouds, stains, and birthmarks, the inkblot provokes an instinctual impulse to perceive identifiable images in otherwise abstract shapes.”
Humans are constantly attempting to make the unidentifiable recognizable, projecting their experiences and knowledge onto the unknown or obscure. Fabcom and Chromarray contains similar materials to those of Garden City including felt which creates sculptural pieces that seem to consume the space they inhabit with their size and bright color palette. In both series, Lowe’s use of natural and human-created materials reveal how nature can be manufactured and our constructed world made to appear naturally occurring. The pieces ultimately reveal the social implications of human being’s dissonance from nature.