By Justin Lowman

Location: Belvedere

(Back to Art on the Grounds)

This site conditioned architectural intervention inhabits an existing structure that forms part of Montalvo’s historic property. Responding to the original purpose of the Belvedere Temple to incorporate a specific vantage point or view, Justin Lowman uses ambient and artificial light, PVC, redwood, plexiglas, textilene, and filters to frame and direct the viewer’s gaze to various overlooked vistas.

Developed in conversation with experiments the artist conducted in his studio at the Lucas Artists Residency Program in 2012 and his recent installation in the Project Space Gallery, Justin describes this work as a “mechanism for seeing.” Like Pixel Panes, in which Lowman focused on activating and drawing attention to the liminal space of the Project Space Gallery doorways, Untitled (Belvedere Temple) also makes use of a threshold area, in this case the space linking the formal grounds and parking lot to the property’s hiking trails.  The work is conceived as a contemplative space where visitors are invited to consider the passage of time as the colors and textures of the Belvedere Temple and the various views it frames transform as a day and the seasons progress. Materials like redwood and Plexiglas, and their associations with the timber industry/construction and fiber optics respectively, reference both the history, present and future of Saratoga, a lumber town of the 1850s that became a wealthy bedroom community for upper-middle class Silicon Valley tech workers. 

Untitled (Belvedere Temple)’s art historic lineage can be found in the experiments of artists whose work respond to the specific conditions of particular places.  Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Dan Flavin, Dan Graham, Daniel Buren, Olaffur Eliasson, and Spencer Finch are just a few of the artists who have created such site-conditioned works.  More local to Justin's production are artists often associated with Light and Space, a loosely affiliated art movement that emerged in the 1960s in Southern California.

This new work at the Belvedere Temple was developed in association with the Project Space Gallery exhibition Perceptual: Chris Fraser and Justin Lowman with the support of the Lucas Artists Program at Montalvo Arts Center.

Follow our new blog series "Evolution of an Artwork," written by Justin Lowman, documenting the creation of Untitled (Belvedere Temple). 

For those so inclined, the artist would enjoy hearing from you! Justin encourages you to share your own images and thoughts about the Belvedere Temple project on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media platform you like.  As a way to track the dialogue, please us #belvederetemple. See the stream of posts here: https://storify.com/montalvoarts/untitled-belvedere-temple-by-justin-lowman.