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Roy Dowell

Bio

Since the late 1980s Roy Dowell (b. 1951 Bronxville, New York) has embraced collage, reasserting its important role in the development of modernism. His works suggest that beauty can be found in the base materials of mass culture. While best known for his two-dimensional works, Dowell has brought his sensibility into three dimensions with modestly scaled sculptures that respond to vernacular and ceremonial objects that he has found in his travels and research. These works remind us of another important development in modernist aesthetics, the incorporation of extra-European forms and modes of representation. One work references a dance from Matehuala, San Luis Potosí, Mexico, while others refer to Makishi masks and costumes of the Chokwe and Luvale people of Angola and Zambia and those of the Ogoni people of Nigeria. This creative trade in global art traditions invokes a colonial history that has shaped Western aesthetics and politics, but Dowell’s informed appropriations are intended to confront that history in a way that values the integrity of the sources. In Dowell’s sculptures, cultural differences intermingle, destabilizing the conventional hierarchies of modernist sculpture and anthropological displays.

Gallery

Roy Dowell

Works by Roy Dowell. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, June 2-September 2, 2012. Photo by Brian Forrest.

Roy Dowell

Roy Dowell. Untitled #948, 2008. Paper, cardboard, acrylic paint. 12 x 4 x 9 in. (30.5 x 10.2 x 22.9 cm). Courtesy the artist. Photograph by Brian Forrest.

Roy Dowell

Roy Dowell. Untitled #941, 2008. Paper, cardboard, acrylic and oil paint, wood base. 14 x 14 x 14 in. (35.6 x 35.6 x 35.6 cm). Courtesy the artist. Photograph by Brian Forrest.

Roy Dowell

Roy Dowell. Untitled #945, 2008. Paper, cardboard, acrylic paint. 39 x 9 x 8 in. (99.1 x 22.9 x 20.3 cm). Courtesy the artist. Photograph by Brian Forrest.

Roy Dowell

Roy Dowell. Untitled #1004, 2011. Paper, cardboard, acrylic paint. 14 x 12 x 12 in. (35.6 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm). Courtesy the artist. Photograph by Brian Forrest.

Roy Dowell

Roy Dowell. Untitled #1009, 2011. Collage, acrylic, and pencil on paper. 8 x 16 in. (20.3 x 40.6 cm). Courtesy the artist. Photograph by Brian Forrest.