BEN LOWE: EMOTIVE GRADIENTS AT HYATT REGENCY LONDON

Published: 23 September 2021


In partnership with Hyatt Regency London - The Churchill, Thompson's is delighted to unveil four new and unseen oil paintings by Ben Lowe, a practicing British artist whose compelling work both inherits and transgresses the legacy of Abstract Expressionism. These paintings commemorate the hotel's flagship Montagu Kitchen restaurant, which is itself debuting a new "gastronomic story" as told by Executive Chef Roger Olson.

After transitioning from graphic design to painting at the turn of the century, Ben Lowe began to hone an individualized personal style whilst answering commissions to make ends meet. He was able to take full direction of his career trajectory by virtue of his outstanding talents, which inevitably drew attention of distinguished specialists in contemporary British art. Thompson's Gallery proudly and gratefully counts itself among Lowe's early enthusiasts. In addition to numerous one-person shows, Mr. Lowe regularly participates in the gallery's annual collective exhibitions — indeed, his submissions rank among the most eagerly anticipated every year.

The original oils now hanging in the Hyatt Regency's lobby lounge and Montagu Restaurant typify Ben Lowe's ongoing meditation on the visual nuances and emotional dimensions of color. Like all of his compositions, they correspond more to a deeply felt personal experience than to a particular time or place. Soft visual gradients rendered on each canvas express the subtle emotional gradients of its fundamental essence. These paintings do not shout, they whisper; they do not electrify, they intrigue; they do not exclaim, they emote.

Ben Lowe, Backcountry, 2021. Oil on canvas, 61" x 49." Ben Lowe, Citadel, 2021. Oil on canvas, 61" x 49."

Two large compositions, Backcountry and Citadel, purport to illustrate specific locales yet treat them with abstracted detachment. Generalized signifiers — a church's spire, a mountainous terrain, often spatially marginalized and never fully resolved — defer to the patches and splashes of paint that comprise a vast subtending structure. The resulting sense of subterranean dominance insists upon a richly complex "inner world" lurking beneath any superficial surface, be it architectural, topographic, institutional, or corporeal. We are moved to contemplate deeper meanings in unexpected places.

Ben Lowe, Weird Bunch, 2021. Oil on canvas, 36" x 25." Ben Lowe, Playscape, 2021. Oil on canvas, 36" x 25."

Weird Bunch, one in the pair of smaller works, hews closest of the set to representational painting. Ostensibly, it depicts a bunch of flowers pitched against a stark, bifurcated plane of stone white and spruce blue. Splashes of crimson, orange, and lime green animate the diffuse bouquet, which upon closer inspection may rest in a black vase. Ben Lowe has at once paid homage to the age-old floral still life genre and imprinted his own distinct aesthetic upon it. The companion painting, Playscape, meets its name with gusto: layers of drips, drabs, swaths, and scratches build to a crescendo in overlapping, intersecting strides. Lowe's palette is again discreet: he has composed a visual symphony of muted blues, soft whites, chocolate brown, and a dash of lilac.

These stirring new oils by Ben Lowe, now on view at the Hyatt Regency London, invite us to join in the artist's liminal journey through the expressive power of color. Where will the path lead you? A stroll to Portman Square may point the way.