At 25


Here's the result of a collaboration orchestrated by Chicago based artist Tim Lowly.  Matt Whitney and I painted panel number 13--a slice of Temma's hair and black wall behind her.  The photo shows the front and back of the panel.

Tim Lowly is an artist who has spent much of his artistic career painting his severely disabled daughter Temma.  What began as a tragedy has been transformed into a great blessing.  Tim recently shared with me how Temma has become the still-point of their family, the rock.

Here's what Tim wrote to me:

This piece will be part of an exhibition that will open in early September.  I am hoping to use this work as part of the exhibition invitation; thus the early deadline. The exhibition at Fill in the Blank Gallery in Chicago will be titled "Without Moving (25)".  Last year I began what may turn out to be a long-term practice of titling shows that focus on work having to do with my daughter Temma, "Without Moving".   Temma turns 25 in September, thus the parenthetical sub-title.  Over the last 25 years much of my work (both art and music) has centered on Temma.   In a way I regard Temma as a collaborator although the nature of her "disability" has made conventional collaboration impossible.  She has been a constant, seemingly unmoving, presence in my life.  Last year I was thinking of the work of the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara whose life work has been to make paintings of the date that the painting was made.  Regardless of what one might think of his work, there is a kind of tenacious commitment in his practice that is affecting.  The “sameness” that characterizes On Kawara’s work – paintings that mark the date of their production – has a curious parallel in the recurring presence of Temma in my work: the days move, she remains largely the same.  My "art practice" has been a long-term one: I have been and remain committed to the mysterious and seemingly foolish act of making paintings and drawings.  Temma has played a central role of informing what painting is for me.  Each painting is starting back at the beginning.  Temma calls in to question, by her being, much of what we (our culture, as individuals and corporately) regard as central and important to life.  Along those lines, over the years the work involving Temma has frequently harbored political and / or spiritual content.  However, regardless of the varying directions (eg. metaphorically) of individual pieces, the central aspect of the work has been the existentially persistent presence of Temma.
 
 The piece “At 25” will not be for sale.  If it turns out well I hope that eventually it will end up in a museum, but in the meantime I plan to include it in subsequent shows.  In regard to the latter, if you have any ideas of future venues for the “Without Moving” project I am open to suggestions.
 
Ps.  This article was written in 2002, but it might be of interest regarding Temma: