I interviewed president of www.AmericanArtAwards.com, Thom Bierdz (author, actor and painter of the BLUE X paintings), and asked which artists this year won the EXPRESSIONISM – HUMAN FIGURE category.
Bierdz explained, “Expressionism is always an exciting category, and this year Linda Lowery’s oil titled Howl scored highest. The 25 galleries score each piece up to 3 points, so with this low scoring system we get a lot of ties.”
This year the www.AmericanArtAwards.com online contest, juried by the 25 Best Galleries In America, had submissions from 35 countries including Aruba, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain,South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, UK, United Arab Emirates and USA.
In a series of articles expanding into October, Highlight Hollywood is showcasing the 1st to 6th Place winning images of the 2015 AMERICAN ART AWARDS, one category at a time.
6th ASHLEY TSANG USA firstname.lastname@example.org “Fragmented” 26 x 29″ Color pencil, sharpie , mixed media, acrylic.
BIO ON 1ST PLACE WINNER LINDA LOWERY, By David Quammen:
Born in Oklahoma, Artist Linda Lowery moved to Washington, DC with her family when she was nine months old; they wanted to be near the monuments and museums that filled the city so her first visit to the National Gallery of Art as made before she could walk.
Growing up, Linda enjoyed drawing, painting and working with her hands doing crafts, often becoming frustrated when she couldn’t get the likeness that she wanted; as with her parent’s interest in the arts, serendipity intervened again instilling a perseverance to continue until she got the look that she wanted, an important trait that serves her well now.
Her appreciation for the arts grew large over time so Linda majored in art as an undergraduate and received a BFA with honors from Ohio Wesleyan University, spending part of her junior year in Vienna, Austria where she studied drawing at the University of Vienna. She received her MFA from George Washington University but all of her graduate classes were taken at the Corcoran School of Art, which was affiliated with GWU at the time. She studied painting with Thomas Downing, one of the leading painters of the “Washington Color School.”
After college Linda got a job as a commercial artist but found it often frustrating albeit good training in detail work. When it came to aesthetics, the customers always got their way even though her taste and theirs often clashed. Most of the work was boring and didn’t pay very well. This was pre-Photoshop so it was excruciatingly mindless detailed work that had to be done by hand. Finally it was either become more serious about commercial work or get into something more lucrative. She opted for the latter and sought her fortune in information technology. That satisfied part of her, but she still longed for more time for fine art and finally gave up seeking a fortune to devote all her efforts full time to painting.
Recently, Linda began painting portraits of newborn babies, inspired to begin a series by a picture taken of her son when he was just a few hours old. She was fascinated by his face, which clearly showed the trauma of birth from the baby’s perspective. Much has been written and described of the birthing process from the mother’s view, so Linda felt that her work could describe what a baby went through, transitioning, as it were, from the comfort of the womb to the relatively harsh hospital room environment. One of her strong motivations was to recognize that babies already have a depth of experience and emotions at the moment of birth, both good and bad, and thus evoke the realization that adults might admit to their own range of experience and emotion.
Linda’s intuition was affirmed by viewers reaction to the paintings of babies, including one woman who said she couldn’t look at them for long since she was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome dating from when her own children were newborns. Others included parents who recognized each expression from their own children, to pediatricians who identified the image of their patients, and finally to young adults who just stood and stared.
Over time, Linda developed a variety of techniques based on the subject matter at the time, from the still form of models to working from photographs of babies. In that case she does a charcoal sketch before beginning a painting, then sketching the image on the canvas before beginning to paint.
Her goal is not to produce a photographic likeness of the subject at hand, but to work loosely and allow the paint and brush strokes to make a statement in the finished painting. In this way each of her works are imprinted with her own unique style, adding a personal touch that becomes easily recognizable to those who have the good fortune to see her work in exhibits throughout the region.
Linda belongs to several local art organizations, each of which have exhibits throughout the year in their own galleries, typically one month in duration. She supports these organizations by exhibiting her work and participating in fundraising efforts.
She is also active in her church and in Sukyo Mahikari, a charitable organization that promotes improvement of the world through improvement of the individual. These are among the few other regular activities that she participates in which don’t involve art directly.
In 2013, Linda was awarded a summer residency at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a major facility in Alexandria dedicated to artistic expression in a variety of endeavors. This opportunity allowed her both to work in a large studio in a building full of studios and over 100 other artists. The Torpedo Factor is open to the public and during her summer there, over 1,200 people walked through her studio allowing her the opportunity to talk with them and get their reaction to her art, something not generally available during gallery exhibits which offer much more limited access to visitors.
While Linda has difficulty pin-pointing her ongoing motivation in producing works of art, there is no uncertainty in the emotions felt from the state she is in when creating art nor in the empty feeling when she cannot get to the studio and paint; those who know her background can understand this perhaps better than she, especially considering that these feelings have been developing almost from the time when her own face exhibited the expressions she now finds so fascinating in newborn babies.