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Janice Lowry papers, 1957-2009

Janice Lowry papers, 1957-2009

Lowry, Janice Ann, 1946-2009

Cartoonist, Painter, Collagist, Author

Collection Information

Size: 18.0 linear feet

Summary: The papers of collagist and painter Janice Lowry measure 18.0 linear feet and date from 1957 to 2009. Lowry's career as an artist in Arizona and California is documented through biographical material, printed material, teaching files, and photographs. The bulk of the papers consist of six diaries; thirteen morning journals; 126 art journals which include both written text and artwork in the form of sketches, paintings, and collages; hand-made artist books; nine notebooks with sketches; and one sketchbook.

Biographical material includes artists' statements, price lists, guest books, scattered correspondence, and exhibition, consignment, and sales records. Six diaries document Lowry's childhood from the age of 11 to 16. Thirteen morning journals date from 1998 to 2008 and are almost entirely stream of consciousness written text. In these journals, Lowry records her daily life, thoughts, and dreams.

Janice Lowry's artwork is combined with her personal writings in three different sets of books, named and numbered by her - art journals, artist books, and notebooks. She kept the "art journals" for most of her adult life, averaging about four per year; some contain mainly written text, whereas others are mostly visual. There are 126 art journals found within her papers. They are filled with sketches depicting vacation spots, objects around the house, studies for works, and people. The art journals also include collages of photographs, ephemera such as ticket stubs and receipts, and other common household objects.

Artist books were handmade and titled by Lowry. They include comic book stories about her family, collage booklets, and children's books.

Lowry's notebooks contain many sketches and date primarily from Lowry's days as a student at Art Center College of Design. Three later notebooks also contain autobiographical essays about her life and family. There is one sketchbook from the 2000s.

Printed material includes newspaper clippings, magazines, press releases, posters, and gallery catalogs and guides. There are personal photographs of Janice Lowry as well as slides of her work. Teaching files contain class project, assignments, and syllabi.

Biographical/Historical Note

Janice Lowry (1946-2009) created paintings, collages, and assemblages in Arizona and California.


Donated 2007 and 2009 by Janice Lowry and in 2014 by Jon Gothold, Lowry's widower and executor.

A Finding Aid to the Janice Lowry Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Janice Lowry (1946-2009) created paintings, collages, and assemblages in Arizona and California. She is known for her box creations of homemade frames filled with found objects that often questioned and commented on life, death, journeys, and rites of passages.
Lowry was born in 1946 in Phoenix, Arizona. She started writing diaries when she was 11, and, with the exception of a decade, continued journaling until 2007. She married Jan Gilbert in 1965 and had two sons, Brandon and Kevin. During this period Lowry also set up a studio and started showing her artwork. In 1973, the family moved to California. Shortly after, she began her long battle with depression, and she divorced Jan in 1976.
Remaining in California, Lowry attended Art Center College of Design where she earned a BFA with honors in 1979 and a MFA in painting in 1980. She married Jon Gothold in 1983, and had another son, Brent. Her work sold well in the 1980's, but after her studio was destroyed in an earthquake in 1987, she took a break from making art.
Janice Lowry's first solo show was at Art Space in 1980, and the gallery continued to showcase and sell her work for many years. She taught at Art Center, Cypress College, and Oakridge Private School. Among other shows, she was part of an exhibition about 9/11 at Legacy Arts Gallery in 2001. In 2007, she was named the region's "Best Visual Artist" by the Orange County Weekly. After several health issues, Janice Lowry died of liver cancer in 2009.
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1964-2009 (Box 1, 18; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 2: Diaries, 1957-1962 (Box 2; 6 folders)
Series 3: Morning Journals, 1998-2008 (Box 2; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Art Journals, Artist Books, Notebooks and Sketchbooks, circa 1973-2009 (Box 3-15, 17-20, 22; 14.2 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1974-2009 (Box 15-16, 20; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, 1965, circa 1980s-2000s (Box 16, 20; 4 folders)
Series 7: Teaching Files, circa 1989-2008 (Box 20-21; 0.5 linear feet)
Donated 2007 and 2009 by Janice Lowry and in 2014 by Jon Gothold, Lowry's widower and executor.
Processing Information
The collection was fully processed by Jessica Byler in 2011. A finding aid was prepared by Erin Kinhart and Jessica Byler also in 2011. Additional papers donated in 2014 were processed and the finding aid was updated by Erin Kinhart in 2016.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Janice Lowry papers, 1957-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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