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Tristin Lowe, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Alice, 1998. Vinyl coated fabric, paint, internal fan, cotton terry cloth, acrylic “fur,” and thread. 280 x 96 x 84 inches (711.2 x 243.84 x 213.36 cm). Edition of 2. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Tristin Lowe, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Alice, 1998 (detail). Vinyl coated fabric, paint, internal fan, cotton terry cloth, acrylic “fur,” and thread. 280 x 96 x 84 inches (711.2 x 243.84 x 213.36 cm). Edition of 2. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Tristin Lowe, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Mocha Dick (installation view), 2009. Wool felt, vinyl coated fabric armature, and internal fan. 126 x 180 x 624 inches.
Tristin Lowe, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Alice, 1998. Vinyl coated fabric, paint, internal fan, cotton terry cloth, acrylic “fur,” and thread. 280 x 96 x 84 inches (711.2 x 243.84 x 213.36 cm). Edition of 2. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Tristin Lowe, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Alice, 1998 (detail). Vinyl coated fabric, paint, internal fan, cotton terry cloth, acrylic “fur,” and thread. 280 x 96 x 84 inches (711.2 x 243.84 x 213.36 cm). Edition of 2. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Tristin Lowe, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Mocha Dick (installation view), 2009. Wool felt, vinyl coated fabric armature, and internal fan. 126 x 180 x 624 inches.
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Tristin Lowe

Tristin Lowe's choice of materials has always been low-tech and low-brow; he has intentionally focused on crude materials and often crass ideas–a bed that continually wets itself or a foam figure that throws up on itself, as examples. Identifying with the clown, Lowe sees the archetype as having license to make a fool of himself, an association that, in turn, allowed Lowe as an artist to explore unorthodox new directions and materials in his work. It also relates to his interest in the risk-taking of authors allied with the Theater of the Absurd.
 
Lowe’s Alice is a 23-foot inflatable, vinyl-coated fabric, bright blue girl. She is unclothed, with shoulder length hair surrounding a face defined by one large eye. The sculpture, which was made in an edition of two, is a blow-up figure, evoking Carroll’s Alice who grows and shrinks depending on the food or potions she imbibes. Alice, like her fairytale counterpart, offers a rich metaphor for the universally fraught transition from childhood to adulthood. This blue stand-in for a child is full of ambivalent yet intriguing qualities—she is sexually undeveloped (yet in many cases Lowe installs the two Alices together in what are unmistakably sexualized poses), larger than life in scale, at once naïve and terrifying. Her single eye, reminiscent of the rabbit’s hole that begins Alice’s journey of self-discover y, references an Eastern spiritual concept of the mind’s eye, or the unconscious, unexplored territory within every individual.
 
Mocha Dick, fabricated from white industrial felt and measuring fifty–two feet long, is a recreation of the real-life albino sperm whale that terrorized whaling vessels in the early nineteenth century and inspired Herman Melville’s literary classic.

Bio
American, born 1966, lives in Philadelphia

Tristin Lowe studied art at the Parson School of Design in New York from 1984 until 1986, before moving to Boston to complete his BFA in sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art (1987–1990). He has been awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2012), Pew Fellowship in the Arts (sculpture) (1994-95), a Provincetown Fine Art Work Center Fellowship (1990-01), and in 1989, a Fellowship at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Lowe was Artist-in-Residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (1998, 2009, and 2011), Philadelphia, PA; Girard College (2003-04), Philadelphia, PA; and at the Rosenbach Museum and Library (1998), Philadelphia, PA. In 2001, he received the Louis Fernley Award.

He has exhibited his work extensively in Philadelphia at venues including The Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Fleisher/Ollman, Vox Populi, Girard College, and the Rosenbach Museum and Library. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; New Langton Arts, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; and the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Switzerland. He was co-founder and co-director of the non-profit gallery Blohard. Lowe’s work is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, The West Collection, and the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper.