Executed in 2004, Lowly is kaleidoscopic in both color and form and its bulbous, undulating body appears to have been generously poured from above by chance rather than painstakingly molded by hand. In describing Price's labor-intensive painting practice, Stephanie Barron writes: "Each color is applied in five coats before the next one is added, and a given sculpture might embody as many as fifteen different colors—a total of seventy-five layers of thin acrylic paint. Black is always the first layer, as it creates the dark defining circles that surround small areas of color" (Stephanie Barron, "Lumps, Bumps, Grooves and Curves: Fifty Years of Ken Price Sculpture" in Exh. Cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, 2012, p. 34). The final monochromatic surface is then meticulously sanded down to reveal glimpses of the vibrant underlying layers "like a pointillist painting or even a Chuck Close canvas" that achieves the visual sensation of depth and complexity on a perfectly smooth surface (Ibid., p. 35). This process is evident in Lowly: the sky-blue shell glows with speckled, granular hints of cherry red, electric pinks, neon greens and deep-sea blues. A summation of Ken Price's entire body of work, Lowly appears to be a celestial nebula or molten lava rock that straddles the boundaries between stiff and malleable, inanimate and alive.
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