Jean Lowe | SWANK
OPENING RECEPTION: OCTOBER 1, 4-6 PM
LA JOLLA ART AND WINE FESTIVAL: OCT 8 + 9
Quint Gallery is thrilled to announce Swank, a forthcoming installation by Jean Lowe. Lowe will repurpose Quint Gallery’s La Jolla location into an unauthorized GMC auto dealership. The centerpiece of this simulation is the HUMMER EV, the recently-revealed electric reboot of the Hummer H2. Despite the H2’s loyal following and association with American military power and poor gas mileage, the era of this off-roading truck came to a close in 2009, ceasing production amid an economic recession and gas crisis.
Enter the SWANK TANK: Lowe’s to-scale sculptural reproduction of the new electric Hummer SUPERTRUCK. Painted in Lowe’s immediate style, it measures 18 feet in length and is constructed from cardboard and wood supports centered on the gallery floor. Characteristics true to a car dealership are also manufactured through Lowe’s filter and immerse viewers in a caricature of luxury. Here at SWANK, customers are invited to lounge on precisely reproduced modernist furniture, where they may enjoy some light reading while waiting to be attended to by a knowledgeable team member. In Lowe’s reimagining, the Quint Gallery staff is cast as Hummer representatives, the gallery walls lined with their portraits as well as other recent paintings by the artist and her husband, Kim MacConnel. Lowe’s dedication to craft is invariably matched by her cleverly incisive approach to content, eschewing exact replicas for surreal interpretations of everyday objects that poke fun at our consumerist impulses.
In an era of polarizing opinions about climate change, the new Hummer EV stands in a gray area of consumer conscience. This 9,000 pound electric version is still marketed to appeal to those who want the same “OFF-ROAD DOMINANCE” and “TOWERING GROUND CLEARANCE” as its predecessor, while lightening the burden of morality for those who can afford it. Though California is set to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, the electric grid continues to be reliant on fossil fuels, and the life-cycle of EV batteries is far from friendly to the environment. The irony is not lost on Lowe, who wades into these murky considerations around ethical consumption and virtue-signaling with her dexterous blend of critique and entertainment.
Jean Lowe received her MFA from the University of California, San Diego, and was a lecturer there until 2008. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. A survey of Lowe’s work, Your Place in the Multiverse, opened at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University in 2021 and traveled to the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, in March 2022. Lowe lives and works in Encinitas, CA.
Swank will be on view from October 1 until November 26. There will be an opening reception on October 1st from 4 to 6 PM. On October 8th and 9th, Quint Gallery will host an interactive booth and immersive experience during the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival.