Lakeland artist, voiceover actor George Lowe displays collection at Polk Museum of Art

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Voice-Over | 0 comments

LAKELAND — He’s more popularly known for being the regimented voice of TV’s animated Cartoon Network talk show series “Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast,” but Lakeland’s George Lowe is also an accomplished artist and fervent art collector.

Lowe, 58, who lives off Cleveland Heights Boulevard, is an accomplished folk artist who for the second time has assembled his works and those of other artists in his collection in an exhibition called “One Collector’s Dream.” The exhibit will be in the Polk Museum of Art (PMOA) from Sept. 24 to Dec. 3.

Among the works on display, according to information provided by the museum, are those by noted and renowned artists James Rosenquist, Howard Finster, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. However, works from other people less known for their artistic talents will be shown, including those by Michael Stipe, lead singer of the band R.E.M.; Florida folk artist Mama Johnson; Shepard Fairey, an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene; Lonnie Holley, a folk art sculptor; and Sandy Skoglund, an American photographer and installation artist.

In total, 50 works will be on exhibit, five of them Lowe’s. It is the second time he had put his works and part of his art collection in the museum, the first time in 1999, when he had 114 pieces on display.

“There’s just a little of everything and art brings everyone together on some level,” said Lowe, who has also exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. “(Art) is so freeing; there is no ‘wrong answer’ in art.”

Lowe’s voice work has contributed to nine Emmy Awards and three ADDY Awards, but he’s been an art collector for more than 30 years. His home is a de facto art museum, containing artworks from mid-century pop art to contemporary folk art.

After decades of collecting, Lowe said he became more interested his own work, creating abstract paintings of swirled constellations and meandering pathways now found in major museum collections, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts, The Georgia Museum and The Foundation for the Advancement of Self-Taught Art.

Lowe didn’t want to disclose the names of many of the works he’s had installed in the PMOA gallery, but said the Dali 1976 print “Obsession of the Heart,” Andy Warhol’s 1983 piece “Brooklyn Bridge,” Tom Wesselmann’s 1981 piece “Helen Nude” and Bealsville folk artist Ruby Williams’ “Bonnie Bon Bonnie” would be up for viewing.

Lowe, who studied art at the University of South Florida, said being able to share his collection and talents with others is for him part of the satisfaction of art. He said no matter where or how the works are derived, it’s the content and talent that should be appreciated.

“When I discovered self-taught art, I realized what I’ve been doing instinctively is OK; you can have merit without an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts),” he said.

According to the PMOA, “One Collector’s Dream” is the first “comprehensive exhibition” of Lowe’s private collection. In one gallery, visitors can see how a collector’s focus can take on multiple facets and see the collective drive experienced by impassioned art collectors.

“We are fortunate to have George in our own back yard,” said Claire Orologas, PMOA executive director. “He is known for his outstanding collection of folk art, but his taste in collecting is very broad. We will get a glimpse of that in this exhibition. George is also an artist in his own right; his work has been purchased by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and examples of his work will also be on view in this exhibition.”

In addition to “One Collector’s Dream,” Lowe will hold a free public lecture from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the museum. RSVP at reservations@polkmuseumofart.org or call 863-688-7743, ext. 249. A PMOA members reception will be held 8 to 8:30 p.m., Sept. 30, and is free for members and $10 for nonmembers.

— Paul Catala can be reached at paul.catala@theledger.com or 863-802-7533. He can be reached at Twitter @pcat0226.

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