Skip Navigation
Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Shelley Lowell


Shelley Lowell was born in the Bronx, NY in 1946. She studied Advertising Design & Visual Communications at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, graduating with a BFA.

She has maintained two parallel art careers as an visual artist and a visual communicator creating award-winning graphic designs, advertising and illustrations.

She began writing poetry in the 1970s. Her current poems are inspired by her paintings. Her work has been published in numerous books.

In the1970s, she earned the label of NYC Feminist representational and social commentary visual artist as she produced monumental original artwork and poetry as a counter statement to what she felt as demeaning aspects of the sexual revolution of the period. Ms. Lowell continued her figurative fine art quest while maintaining a successful ad agency first in NYC (1974-77), then later in Atlanta, GA (1977-96). After moving to Asheville, NC (1996), where she owned a gallery and curated exhibitions, her art changed into a non-representational, abstracted style, which continued through 2003.

In her paintings and poetry today, she uses metaphors such as a tree as a symbol of humanity or a symbol of the world humanity inhabits, creating the duality of the seen and the unseen, metaphorically and in reality. Both convey a message through its subject, its scale, and its composition and atmosphere.

Her art has been in solo, duo and group shows in galleries and museums. It is in private and corporate collections, and in women artist registries.

Feminist Artist Statement

My feminist art began in 1966. The last piece of this period was created in 1990. This work, for the most part, used sex organs out of context to the body, in juxtaposition to unrelated objects. Together, they created a message or statement. I saw these images in my mind and then created them without questioning their meaning. It was only years later that I realized these works were my reaction to what was going on around me at the time.

In the process of making these pieces, I worked through the need to continue creating these works. My art has continued to evolve and grow.

Today, I am, more than ever, driven to paint and write poetry as a way to express my reaction to injustices I see around me. With my newer work, I not only convey comments and messages, but also invite the viewer into my mental and emotional psyche through dreamlike landscapes-of-my-mind. In many cases, these paintings are prophetic commentaries – a wake-up call. Each combined work, painting and poem, tells a story where trees become anthropomorphized spokespersons.

While the subject matter and styles have shifted, my painting and poetry have maintained a thread of communicating messages or making statements throughout my artistic career – whether it be my early feminist paintings and sculpture, auratic abstracts, or my current work. No doubt, this came from studying advertising design and visual communications while at Pratt.

Today, I use oil with a wax medium to create my mostly elongated, stretched landscapes with stylized trees. These works reflect my concerns for the environment and my observations of the human condition. I have been using this medium since 1996 after one of the artists I represented in my Asheville, North Carolina gallery introduced it to me.

<p>Slice of Life</p>

Slice of Life

Slice of lemon meringue pie with breasts on top

Slice of Life

Slice of lemon meringue pie with breasts on top


Double breasted black coat with Plaster of Paris nipples in place of the buttons


Half an apple with a vagina where the core is

“Don’t Make Any Noise, the Cake Will Fall”

Looking into oven with door fully open, instead of a cake in the pan there is a breast.

The Red Period

Menstrual blood with tampons


Penis hanging from a noose


NYC old candy vending machine (circa 1920) with sex organs in cellophane wrappers in place of where the candy usually is.

Sign on Vending machine says “For Quick Pickup, Buy Delicious Candy.” Mirror on machine.





PDF Dowload

Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.