Judith Lowry’s Artistic Reflections on Native California

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

The exhibit “Our Stories” is a collection of vibrant, large-scale narratives that Judith Lowry painted over the past 20 years. Her themes include family stories, California Native oral traditions, pop culture, women’s roles, and politics. She uses symbols inspired by her California Indian roots, mixing her family histories with important oral histories.

Weh-Pom and the Star Sisters, a 6 panel work currently on exhibit in the National Museum of the American Indian, has been reprinted for this collection. Weh-Pom (Coyote) travels to the stars to seduce the five Star Sisters each who are dancing among the stars while wearing California Native dance regalia.

The fiery image, Obedient Wives, tells the story of how the rat lost his hairy tail. The owl-like creatures, the wives, watch Rat as his tail burns after a match with Weasel.

This collection also incudes And He Glittered When He Walked, a tribute to Harry Fonseca; the Tattoos series showing men and women with various tattoo designs representative of their Native communities; and illustrations from Home To Medicine Mountain, a book about the Indian boarding schools from the viewpoint of her father and uncle as children.

Growing up in a military family, Lowry traveled and attended schools all over the world. Lowry was taught many California Native traditional stories by her father who was Mountain Maidu, Hammawi Band Pit River, Washo and Scottish-Irish. From her Australian mother, she learned about Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. This rich multicultural background is displayed in Lowy’s artwork.

Judith Lowry was born in 1948 but didn’t start her art career until the 1980s. She received her M.A. in art from Chico State University and lives locally in Nevada City, CA. Her artwork has been on exhibit in numerous museums including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the George Gustav Heye Center, the Crocker Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

In many of Lowry’s paintings, one can see traditional burden baskets used for collecting food and medicine and basket caps worn by women. To complement Judith Lowry’s paintings, beautiful examples of handmade basketry on loan from the California State Indian Museum are also included in this collection.

Exhibit Show Dates: February 16 – May 31, 2013
Where: Maidu Museum in Roseville

(Text: City of Roseville and Judith Lowry; artwork: Judith Lowry)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

5 thoughts on “Judith Lowry’s Artistic Reflections on Native California”

  1. Good going Judith. When I think of you, the term “obedient wives” (or obedient anything, for that matter) does not immediately come to mind. The image, however, quickly shook that stereotype! I have a meeting in Roseville next week and will check out your exhibit.

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