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DWAYNE LOWDER: I Bet You Wouldn’t Give It to Me Even if I Asked

January 10 – March 8, 2020

Monroe-Brown Gallery

Organized by Indra K. Lācis, PhD
Director of Exhibitions

A native of North Carolina, Dwayne Lowder was Associate Professor at Western Michigan University’s Art Department (now the Gwen Frostic School of Art) from 1966 until 1980 before moving back to the South. Eventually he settled in Allisonia, Virginia, where over the course of several decades, he built an incredible farm and estate which he shared with his friend Gifford Pletcher. Tending to sheep, farming orchids as well as gardens of a more ordinary kind, Mr. Lowder continued to paint at least throughout the first decade of the 2000s. He passed away on August 16, 2018.

A major figure in the Kalamazoo art scene throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and into the early 1980s, Mr. Lowder earned his BA (1959) and MA degree (1963), in painting and sculpture, respectively, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His skill as a visual artist and craftsman spanned oil and acrylic painting, woodworking, stained glass, foundry casting, welding, and color theory. In addition to private collections, his work is in the permanent collection of such museums as the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh; the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina; the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and Western Michigan University. His numerous solo and group exhibitions include scores of venues across the state of Michigan and North Carolina, galleries in New York City, Chicago, and Seattle, as well as Florida, Vermont, Indiana, and Virginia.

Fitting neatly with Dwayne Lowder’s legacy as a talented and complex person, the story of how these paintings arrived on campus is by now fabled and described in detail in the exhibition catalog. In sum—the works on view represent the majority of a generous gift to Western Michigan University’s Art Collection by Mr. Lowder’s friend and former colleague, WMU Professor Emeritus John M. Jack Carney.

Organized largely by theme and with an eye towards rough chronological progressions, the exhibition I Bet You Wouldn’t Give It to Me Even if I Asked presents nearly five decades of Mr. Lowder’s painting, along with several sculptures and a smattering of ephemera from the artist’s life as an orchid farmer.  Visually hypnotic and buzzing with peripatetic focus, I Bet You Wouldn’t Give it To Me Even if I Asked celebrates the dense, dazzling language of Mr. Lowder’s artistic legacy.

Full funding support for the accompanying catalog generously provided by John M. (Jack) Carney.

Opening reception & preview for lenders, exhibition partners, Richmond Center members and Frostic School of Art students:  Friday, January10, 2020, 5:00 – 7:00pm MyWMU.com/FriendsofRCVA