Art, music, text: working outside and inside traditional exhibition circuits

Dr Sean Lowry’s art practice mixes media, twisting the visual, aural and written word together – often outside of traditional exhibition spaces.

Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at the Victorian College of the Arts, Dr Sean Lowry’s art mixes media, twisting the visual, aural and written word together.

For Dr Lowry, an experience of a work of art is not necessarily tied to a singular object, location or event. Indeed, it might be accessed in numerous ways – through a book, a performance, a video, a song, a radio play, or as an aggregate of elements.

The Ghosts of Nothing (aka Lowry, S and Taimre, I). This is Johnny (feat. Frank J. Miles) December 6, 2014, (outside former CBGBs) 315 Bowery, Manhattan, NY, 10003, USA — as part of The Ghosts of Nothing World Tour of Abandoned Music Venues 2014/2015 (see Mousse #45, October–November 2014)

Dr Lowry describes his work as “conceptually driven” and often works outside traditional exhibition spaces. He works across multiple mediums, from image to sound to performance, and often collaboratively. His work challenges us to reconsider where and when we might encounter art.

Widely published and exhibited both nationally and internationally, Dr Lowry’s artistic practice “employs strategies of concealment, subliminal quotation, erasure, remediation and intermedial expansion to explore the outermost limits of the world of a work of art,” he says.

He is also Founder and Executive Director of the innovative global exhibition model Project Anywhere and one half (with Ilmar Taimre) of The Ghosts of Nothing. Both of these projects forgo convention by existing outside the traditional exhibition circuits.

Sean Lowry, UNAUSTRALIA (2013), overpainted wall painting acrylic sign writing and gallery stock paint, 1800cm x 1990cm
Sean Lowry, 'UNAUSTRALIA' (2013), overpainted wall painting, acrylic sign writing and gallery stock paint, 1800cm x 1990cm. Image supplied.

Dr Lowry believes that “art is central to broader cultural and political discourse and can perform an important role in the ways in which we understand ourselves and the world that we live in.” As a teacher, he reminds his students to carefully consider from where and when they are looking, making and experiencing art. Accordingly, he seeks to “encourage students to critically navigate their own creative pathways.”

Researcher profile

Dr Sean Lowry

Selected publications

Lowry, S. and Taimre, I. (2018). The Ghosts of Nothing: In Memory of Johnny B. Goode – World Tour 2014–2018.

Lowry, S. (2015). Ghosted Forms. Erasure: The Spectre of Cultural Memory. Libri Publishing Ltd.

Lowry, S. (2015). Project Anywhere: The Challenge of Validating, Exhibiting and Disseminating Art and Research at the Outermost Limits of Location-Specificity. Muséologies: Les cahiers d'études
supérieures
, 8(1).

Further reading

Dr Sean Lowry's website

Project Anywhere

The Ghosts of Nothing