Artists comment on contemporary landscape, from strip malls to the view from a Tijuana studio

By Robert L. Pincus
UNION-TRIBUNE ART CRITIC December 1, 2006

Thomas Kinkade knows one thing, other than how to make piles of money: that there is an audience yearning for his syrupy pictures that conjure up an adult version of Candy Land. They’re instructive in their roundabout way, as cut-rate versions of seriously romantic 19th-century landscapes, which present mountains, fields and waterways as if they emitted a spiritual hush.

 

The big sky and faux frame of Jean Lowe’s “Green Acres” evoke 19th-century landscapes in which vistas weren’t yet crammed with houses.

There are faint traces of this same romantic tradition in Jean Lowe’s art. She paints stretches of sky that recall paintings of centuries ago. Even her faux ornate frames – not frames at all but a part of each picture – seem of another age.

But below Lowe’s skies, there is another world filled with the contemporary sights that Kinkade does his best to avoid: new, suburban housing tracts and strip malls. She gives such scenes a touch of the grandeur that 19th-century painters devoted to open vistas, and this subversion of landscape conventions adds a fine satiric patina to her pictures.

Lowe’s approach is on display in the painting “Green Acres,” which is also the title of a two-artist exhibition at L Street Fine Art in downtown San Diego. It’s the second in a year-long series devoted to winners of the San Diego Art Prize, an award program now in its first year. Read the entire article

Note Painting on right is of Crest View end of Brightwood Drive..Price is $14,000

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