Seeing The Gods
One artist’s shifting perspectives on life, epic poetry and living history.
This week I’d like to share the work of my friend and fellow artist, Heather Lowe. Heather lives in a part of Los Angeles known as Koreatown, or in LA jargon, “K-Town.” Her studio is located in Downtown LA at Keystone Art Space. Heather’s artworks seem technically modern and complex, but they are also familiar, bringing back memories of shifting portraits with eyes that follow you.
Heather makes her art using a process called Lenticular printing. A lenticular is a ribbed lens with several images adhered onto the back which allows the viewer to see more than one image at a time. Images on the surface morph, flip and sometimes go into depth, creating an impression of a moving image when the viewer changes perspective. Other names for this process are “flickers,” “wiggle pictures” and “tilt cards.”
Heather, an avid reader, has completed a new series inspired by one of her favorite books, The Odyssey by Homer. In it she explores the correlations she sees between the voyages of Odysseus and our own journeys as we navigate the challenges of modern life.
The Odyssey is the story of a man named Odysseus who, after fighting for ten years in the Trojan War, just wants to go home. But the Gods have other plans for him, and his return journey takes another ten years during which he encounters a man-eating Cyclops, a witch who turns his crew members into pigs, deadly Sirens, the dual gnashing and drowning monsters Scylla and Charybdis, and the charms of a beautiful nymph named Calypso who makes Odysseus forget he has anywhere else to be. But Athena, his guardian Goddess, finally gets him back home to reclaim the life he had been unable to reach for so many years.
For Heather, The Odyssey is a story about a journey of discovery, through darkness and confusion and back into light, a journey many of us can relate to. Our paths can lead into mindless temptations, onto the shoals of monster-inhabited islands, or into the lairs of (metaphorical) cannibals. But these challenges and diversions can also reveal the things that are truly valuable in our lives.
Her inspiration to combine ancient Greek storytelling with contemporary life started with a trip to the beach with a friend. A large doodle on the sand with sticks, seaweed and seashell details became a drawing of a Grecian vase. Her friend posed, in the style of a Greek athlete, inside the sand drawing which Heather then photographed. This turned into an idea for a lenticular combining an ancient vase and a marathon runner. And thus the series was born.
In her own journeys around Los Angeles, Heather finds daily examples of the past and present linking, or perhaps rhyming, together. The waves of the ocean remind her of the wave motifs in ancient mosaics; a spiraling hawk is reminiscent of Apollo’s “swift winged messengers” and a towing rig on the back of a truck can look like the opening arms of an Olympian God.
Heather’s lenticular artworks give us shifting views of reality which both reveal and hide mysteries depending on the perspectives of the viewers, prompting connections between the deep past and contemporary life.
“…for the gods do not let themselves be seen by everybody.”
— -The Odyssey, book XVI
To find out more about Heather Lowe, her lenticular artworks and her exhibitions, follow, contact and like at these links:
Heather’s series of Odyssey influenced artworks will be on view at the Keystone Art Space Gallery, 338 S Avenue 16, Los Angeles, CA 90031, June 2021.