The title of this show refers to the date of a mass shooting in Nevada, when a gunman, holed up high in a multi-storey hotel, shot fifty-nine people in the audience of a country music festival. The paintings are based on the crime photos which were released to the public.
Lowman’s practice is about appropriation and in this case his images function effectively as critical reflection. He uses a paint called alkyd which is shiny and thick and applies it in a process which reminded me of the scarification of a tattoo. His surfaces are quite distinctive.
The subjects he chooses from this police cache varies. We see the hotel room in some detail and we also see the guns laid out on the bed. But other subjects are not so easy to identify. We are told that a picture which looks abstract in fact comes from a photo of pulverised bullet residue on the fuel tanks in the neighbouring airport. The atmosphere these paintings create is eerie and disturbing, the longer I looked the more they got under my skin.
A horrible event but interesting paintings.
Nate Lowman ‘October 1, 2017’ is at David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street until 9 November.