It’s better than the K-Mart of dreams as you behold the clever and humorous art installation and works by Jean Lowe at McKenzie Fine Art Inc. which is entitled “Live the Dream!”. The space had an opening reception for this artist last February 16, 2012 setting the gallery with shelves of papier-mâché and ceramic iterations of the 99 Cent store variety shown in such abundance. Along with paintings that set more Bodega items into a palatial room that could be in Versailles, this is another playful critique of consumerism and our voracious appetite for consumption based on the influence of advertising in modern society.
Lowe’s cash-and-carry installation provides fodder for entertaining discussion as one navigates the mini-store filled with signage such as: “Stop Wishing, Start Living! (Ask about our Senior Discounts,)” “Look 20 Years Younger (Must be at Least 21 Years of Age,) or simply, “Aspire.” Products on shelves are loaded profusely with Lowe’s cheeky versions of items such as “Tear Stain Remover,” “Anti-Wrinkle Gel Patches,” canned goods and packaged items, as well as editions of faux books with titles such as “How to Spot Value.” It is very kitschy yet forthcoming as one ponders how often we validate every purchase we make.
Populating the walls along with the installation is a group of new enamel on panel paintings depicting “Discount Barn” merchandise showcased in opulent Baroque settings such as libraries and great rooms. This is to counter balance the affluent architectural details of the painted domed ceilings, elaborate chandeliers and flourishes, which represent former seats of social and political power, luxury, and higher learning. These symbols of gilded opulence have been transformed into palaces of commonplace consumption with the overflow of bargain basement products. Lowe directly references the rooms based on her travels throughout Europe. What would a bargain dream store be without the papier–mâché sculptures of remainder books on a half off table and a supermarket tower display of sugar boxes and bottles of corn syrup?
Throughout the exhibition, Lowe obviously engages the viewer in a stimulus of the pleasure of consumerism where even an inexpensive worthless product can still have the power of transformation just based on the action of its purchase. No matter whether you buy into the “Bargain Basement” dream or not, Lowe asserts herself as primarily the artist who is a maker of things.
Live the Dream!
On View: February 16 – March 24, 2012
Gallery Schedule: Tues to Fri, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm / Sat, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
McKenzie Fine Art Inc.
511 West 25th Street Room 208. New York, NY 10001
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan