Isadora Stowe transforms Curfman Gallery into dreamy biome

Lauryn Bolz

Isadora Stowe’s introspective installation “Anamnesis” converged art, science and psychology in a beautiful representation of the human mind. The 2019 summer gallery that had captured the wonder of students throughout its showing closed out with a talk with the artist on Sept. 3. 

Inspired by the physical and psychological environments in her home state of New Mexico, Stowe’s wide array of interests and experiences in different fields culminated in the creation of the exhibition. Stowe combined her background in cultural anthropology with her fascination with memory and string theory to assemble her groundbreaking installation at the Curfman Gallery.


Isadora Stowe speaks to students in an advanced drawing class about her installation in the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center on Sept. 3, 2019. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

I love this idea of repetition and memory and how we construct our own worlds based off of ideas we have,” Stowe said. “I wanted to create an installation bathed in this light that can be interacted with.”

The installation mixed the traditional medium of painting with unique shaped canvases and experimentation with digital art. The majority of the gallery was arranged with more than 100 different sized canvases and representational objects, with one corner featuring a digital piece of black and white images fluctuating in size and shape. 

“I really enjoy how Stowe uses imagery in her work that exists in a state of transition like the butterfly or moth, the house and a variety of different vegetation,” said Lauren Faherty, a graduate assistant in the Lory Arts Program. “By using this imagery as a narrative, Stowe examines the construction of one’s identity through creating an immersive environment which actively inserts the viewer into the work.”

To enhance Stowe’s pastel paintings, she utilized pools of brightly colored light to cast radiating shadows across the walls and cause some of the paint on the canvases to glow. The integration of fine art and digital technologies made for a unique gallery experience. 

“A lot of it is trying to rebel against my painting department,” Stowe said. “There were so many rules. I’ve always felt that I’ve had so many varied interests, and paint is one of those things where you can start to explore different aspects of it in different kinds of ways.”

With each show I’ve tried to experiment and push myself in places I haven’t before.” Isadora Stowe

According to graduate painting student Zane White, digital art such as Stowe’s may be the future for all fine art.

“It’s hard to predict where the art world is going because we have every tool at our fingertips,” White said. “We have at our disposal all of these digital technologies, and I think we should be using them.”

“Anamnesis” drew in assorted students to witness this successful conversion of mediums in the Curfman gallery in the Lory Student Center.

“The students have loved this exhibit,” Faherty said. “Stowe completely transformed the gallery into a totally different environment. It feels so dreamlike in the gallery that many students have been coming in and hanging out on the benches with friends, which we love to see.”

Interdisciplinary liberal arts senior Sabrynne Buchholz interacts with the installation “Anamnesis” in the Curfman Gallery by shining an ultraviolet flashlight to reveal other features of the piece on Sept. 3, 2019. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

The excited reactions from the wide variety of students who entered the dreamlike gallery stressed the importance of the integration of art into academic institutions. 


“Sometimes you hear people saying that they aren’t sure how to look at or talk about art,” Faherty said. “We hope that by giving students access to a variety of galleries in the Student Center, (we) can break those barriers down and create an open and inviting environment for students to experience art.”

As for Stowe, the multimedia artist will continue to expand the bounds of traditional art in her upcoming galleries. For her next exhibition in Chile, she will be projecting images onto casted glass.

“With each show, I’ve tried to experiment and push myself in places I haven’t before,” Stowe said.

Lauryn Bolz can be reached at or on Twitter @BolzLauryn.