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Who are the artists in your neighbourhood? Joiwind Lowe

Photograph of a woman smiling with her hands up in the air standing in front of two large white and grey prints fixed to a brick wall.

The art of Joiwind Lowe is very much about a shared encounter, between place, the artist and the inner self. The words distillation, dispersion, distribution, gathering, and invitation are used frequently to describe themes and techniques the artist employs in her multi-disciplinary arts practice.

Moving home from Miami Beach to San Francisco to Melbourne, Lowe now calls Bayside her home. In 2019, Lowe completed a Masters of Art in Public Space, from RMIT University and is a practising Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Bayside Gallery is thrilled to bring Lowe’s work to life in the current exhibition Greenworld.

Full interview with the artist

Bayside Gallery (BG) asks Joiwind Lowe (JL) about her unique practice and the fusion of art and healing.

BG: How do you define your practice?

JL: My practice is as much about process as outcome. I call myself a multidisciplinary artist because the media are essentially just tools for my work, and fairly interchangeable. My deep study is more about the ephemeral nature of knowledge creation than of a particular material or medium. All of that said, I define myself as a sculptor.

BG: Joiwind, can you tell me about the importance of making your art available within a public space?

JL:  There are so many reasons that public art is important to me, and two are key. The first is that I need a lot of space for the implementation of the ideas which I've been interested in exploring because they require the physical movement of a viewer, and sometimes anonymity. With poster installations, for example, I hope to elicit a subconscious experience of rhythm and familiarity through repeated imagery. The more important reason is that public installations have been wonderful and surprising gifts to me.

I love the idea of the chance encounter, and it feels like such a gift to be able to contribute to that shared conversation.

BG: Your art is like a a conduit between the natural world and our emotions. Is the performance element and public interaction therefore the focus of your art?

JL: Not really - I hope to invite people to a moment of stillness, of deepening self-regard, of some sort of embodiment, but not to suggest what that should look or feel like. Mindfulness may be a good shorthand for my focus. My gestures are usually pretty restrained. Public interaction feels good when it happens but is rarely part of the intended piece. I am very interested in the ways we move through the world, what parts of it we integrate and what we offer our communities. Also, I'm far too shy to be too performative; it exhausts me.

BG: You are a professionally trained acupuncturist and Doctor in Chinese Medicine. Is ‘natural healing’ and ‘intimacy’ an intentional emotion in your artworks? How is this achieved?

JL: Yes, absolutely. 

Intimacy and privacy are key. It has taken me a full thirty years of pursuing both art and medicine simultaneously to finally understand how they are the same practice. It's funny. I've always told patients that I consider acupuncture a form of private sculpture, but just received strange looks. Making art and helping facilitate healing follow exactly the same patterns. There is a story. I sit with it, I feel it, I think about it. And then develop a mechanism for reorganizing and representing it. The patterns which play out in the exterior and interior worlds are identical.

Chinese medicine offers many beautiful frameworks for understanding this dynamic - one is that human beings are the interplay between heaven and earth. We are simultaneously universal and intimate; aligning ourselves with this through art, acupuncture, or anything else is the only way we truly heal. As we heal, our communities and natural world will heal.

BG: As an artist that uses many types of mediums, have you needed to learn a skill that has been challenging?

JL: Definitely! I've generally worked in pretty physical formats - metals, glass, big presses, clay, and such. I love this. But now that my work has turned towards communicating small moments and playing with scale, I've had to spend a lot of time at a computer with photoshop. It's not as much fun, but I love that I can be completely experimental with my process and image-making and then send it out for printing. I change very little about the images, so it's basic work but has definitely presented a challenge.

BG: You have travelled and lived in many parts of the world so how has the Bayside environment influenced your practice?

JL: Bayside is the quietest place I've lived, and this has given me a fantastic opportunity to be more fully in each moment. My practice looks for ways to re-present Any beautiful daily details, and slowing down a bit has been invaluable and instructive. I believe in 'travelling' at home, and walk a lot. I savour the gardens visible from sidewalks, and am especially fascinated by the diversity of plants in the more established ones. Bayside is lush.

To find out more about Joiwind Lowe, view her website here.

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