Tim Lowly: Without Moving, Tondos

Above: Tim Lowly, Spinning, Acrylic, ink on paper, 40″x40″

Dates: February 5 — February 27, 2021 at Hofheimer Gallery

Since she was born in 1985, Tim Lowly’s daughter Temma has figured increasingly prominently in his art. Over time he’s come to think of the work related to her as being an ongoing, multifaceted, yet singular project. A project that seeks meaning within a life Temma shares with her mother Sherrie, himself and others who care for her. Temma is profoundly other: the brain damage she experienced shortly after birth has rendered her as one for whom the concepts “development” and “ability” have little relevance. In the face of a life conventionally regarded as static they find themselves continually pulled back to the start.  His friend Riva Lehrer has referred to Temma as a perpetual cipher. A newborn baby is a cipher, a mystery, a zero: a “nothing”, yet resolutely resonating possibility. That is Temma–36 years on–always. Yet, within that apparent stasis (as a friend wrote, responding to an early version of the tondo subsequently titled “Spinning”):

Whole galaxies spinning inside her eyes...

Tondo – is a circular image. A cone of vision. A whole. A zero. A portal. Here, the diameter of arms extended. Within that circumference, the face writ large.


The works in this project were made with a hybrid process involving the following steps:

1) photography
2) digital processing (including overlays of scanned textures and drawings)
3) printing the resulting image on a textured paper
4) sanding the image
5) painting on the image with matte black acrylic until it became (as far as I felt about it) a painting.

With this project, Tim was interested in using processes usually associated with mass reproduction–photography and printing–towards making singular works: metaphorically affirming the uniqueness of the subject. 

Hofheimer Gallery  | 4839 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625