A visit to Kim MacConnel and Jean Lowe’s home and studio

Kim MacConnel
19 Rabbit
46 x 46 x 2 1/2 inches
Sign painter enamel on wood panel

Curator of Contemporary Art Grace Kook-Anderson discusses her visit to artist’s home

A studio visit with husband and wife artists Kim MacConnel and Jean Lowe left me with much to look back upon. Located on a ranch land in Encinitas, there are several sections to their home and studio. The first building, a large and airy garage-like space is Jean’s studio. As you walk past the studio, you see rows of vegetables growing in their garden. Kim’s long, windowed studio is to the right, revealing his latest bright-colored enamel paintings, and straight ahead their living quarters. It is an unusual compound where each room is not linked to hallways but outdoor space. In the kitchen I was offered homegrown, homemade apple juice. Deliciously laid on the counter top were persimmons, pomegranates, tomatoes, walnuts, almonds, curry leaves, and beautiful green French squash, all grown on their land.

Their collaboration as artists and a couple are woven into every aspect of the home and studio, mixed with a hearty dose of playfulness. This can be seen most visibly in their “living room.” Hand-painted furniture; an armoire housing a television set made from the cardboard that the television came in; curtains from Kim’s textile paintings from the late-70s; a large, kitsch shag rug collaged from small shag rugs picked from flea markets and thrift stores; a painted coffee table with Jean’s papier-mâché pizza box and crumpled up Dunkin’ Donuts cup. The room also contains Jean’s cardboard bookshelves with real and fake books.  Despite the disparate harmony of furniture, the powder blue walls made to look like a French rococo interior pull the entire living room together.

Jean Lowe in their eclectic living room

Without being too sentimental, I must say that my visit with Kim and Jean was uplifting. It was delightful to see that art and life are not separate entities but integral to each other. The purpose of the visit was to discuss including their work in the upcoming summer 2013 exhibition. I’m excited to be working with the both of them.