Performance: “Cotton In Motion” at SUNY Oneonta

A collaboration by John Dowell, with choreographer and director Kareem B. Goodwin.


A collaboration by John Dowell, with choreographer and director Kareem B. Goodwin. Assisted by Channel Kane, featuring SUNY Oneonta Dancers.
Sound by John Dowell and Kareem B. Goodwin.
Performed in the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, January 25, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition COTTON, by John Dowell.
Dancers: Sabrina Noti, Nicole Catapano, Meghan Cassidy, Amanda Murphy, Alexandra Gardner, Abigail Haviland, Jenna Snide, and Sezlyn Petersen.

A Blast from the Past: Video of Lecture & Musical Performance in ’79

Here I am lecturing on the relationship between music and printmaking for me. Enjoy!

A description of the video recording, by Bill Ritchie (at that time, Professor of Art at the University of Washington):

“John E. Dowell, Jr. returned to the University of Washington in 1979 to “perform” his paintings with the Visual Music Ensemble, a group he assembled to play musical works based on his watercolors. He also spoke to students in the School of Art Graduate Seminar, with Bill H. Ritchie hosting him at the CCTV Studios. Mr. Dowell got his MFA Degree in Printmaking at the UW in 1966, and Ritchie invited him back because John shows how he blends musical composition with visual arts and shows how artists from different disciplines can take on creative efforts together.”

Upcoming Exhibition, “Problem Solving: Highlights from the Experimental Printmaking Institute” at the University of Delaware

My Lithograph “The Bridge” is part of the upcoming exhibition, “Problem Solving: Highlights from the Experimental Printmaking Institute” at the University of Delaware.

The Bridge, Lithograph, by John Dowell Artist Photographer
22” x 18” Lithograph 2004 Edition of 50

The Bridge, Lithograph, 2004

February 7 – May 11, 2018
Opening Reception: Monday, March 5, 5-7pm

Problem Solving: Highlights from the Experimental Printmaking Institute

“Experimentation in the printmaking studio has a lot to do with problem solving,” Curlee Raven Holton, founder and emeritus director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute (EPI) at Lafayette College, explained in a 2014 interview. This exhibition celebrates a gift of prints from the EPI that Holton presented to the University of Delaware. To showcase the EPI’s role as a leading center for innovative experiments in printmaking across a variety of media and techniques, the exhibition puts selections from the EPI gift in conversation with significant works from the University’s extensive permanent collection of African American art.

Mechanical Hall Gallery
University of Delaware, Mechanical Hall
30 North College Avenue
Newark, DE 19716


Upcoming Exhibition, “Photographs Are Ideas” at Lehigh University

My photograph “Wacker Drive” is part of the upcoming exhibition, “Photographs Are Ideas: Selections from the LUAG Teaching Museum Collection” at the Zoellner Art Center, Lehigh University.

Wacker Drive (Chicago), Archival Inkjet Print on Photo Rag Paper, 2005

January 24 – May 25, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 8, 6-8pm

Photographs Are Ideas: Selections from the LUAG Teaching Museum Collection

Curated by Ricard Viera, LUAG Director and Chief Curator

According to Viera, “Today—as we see in the various works of individual artists, from single-plate processes, through analog, conceptual, and photo-based approaches—light and shadow continue to play a mysterious role in the theatrics of digitalization and the photoshop of IDEAS.  Keep in mind that an IDEA is not just a cognitive or conceptual action.  An IDEA could be searching and looking through the lens of a camera, or simply photographing an object as an IDEA of the subject.  An IDEA could be a visual metaphor, a descriptive narrative, a lie, or the act of mismatching a pair as a parallel to discovery.  In short, good photography is good theater.  That’s the IDEA.”

LUAG Main Gallery
Zoellner Arts Center
420 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015


Solo Exhibition, “Cotton: The Soft Dangerous Beauty of the Past” at the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, SUNY Oneonta

A solo exhibition of my cotton work is on display now through March at SUNY Oneonta.

Final Transition, Archival Inkjet Print on Photo Rag Paper, 2016

January 22 – March 16, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 25, 5-7pm

Cotton: The Soft Dangerous Beauty of the Past

Martin Mullen Art Gallery
SUNY Oneonta Fine Arts Center
Oneonta, NY 13820


January 20, 2018

ONEONTA, N.Y. — A new exhibit, titled “Cotton: The soft dangerous beauty of the past,” explores both the beauty of cotton and how it prolonged slavery in the U.S., and is being featured from January 22 to March 16 at SUNY Oneonta’s Martin-Mullen Art Gallery.

Photographer John E. Dowell, Jr., delivered a gallery talk during a public reception from 5-to-7 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 25, at the gallery, which was followed by a dance performance, “Cotton in Motion,” by choreographer Kareem Goodwin and SUNY students.

The cotton exhibit will allow visitors to experience how a four-year-old could get lost in a field of cotton, as the grandmother of Dowell did in South Carolina. They will be able to step inside what appears to be a cotton field. A maze of huge curtains printed with images of cotton hang from the ceiling. On nearby walls are seven monumental photographs of cotton, which range from the eight-foot long, “Breaking Away,” to the 13 foot-long, “Feeling the Pain.” Smaller photos from 27 inches to 34 inches high hang nearby.

“With this project, I want the viewer to feel, remember, wonder, think and examine their consciousness,” Dowell said, “and still see the beauty of this plant that changed the world.”

The second largest number of slaves in the United States were auctioned off in New York City. The official slave market opened in 1711 and was located on Wall Street between Pearl and Waters Streets. By 1730, 42 percent of New York city population owned slaves. Much of this history has been forgotten.

Dowell has built photographic images placing cotton on and around Wall and Pearl Streets in New York City, and Central Park, where Seneca Village, the first U.S. middle-class black community existed. The housing community was leveled by use of eminent domain to make way for Central Park.   I have put images cotton in Harlem as a symbolic reminder of our forgotten past and our responsibility to remember how our country was built.

Dowell collaborated with Philadelphia choreographer Kareem Goodwin to create “Cotton in Motion,” a dance that introduces human movement and interaction with the cotton installation. SUNY Oneonta dance instructor, Shannah Kane, worked with Goodwin and the university’s dance students to stage the performance for the reception.

As a performing artist, Goodwin has worked with such choreographers as Christopher L. Huggins, Louis Johnson, Ronen Koresh, Gary W. Jeter II, Zane Booker and Arthur Mitchell. He also has been a member of Eleone Connection, the Pre-Professional Company of Eleone Dance Theatre. He is on the faculty at Eleone Dance Unlimited and the Dance Institute of Philadelphia, and he serves as a guest faculty member at the Rock School of Dance Education.

In early 2017, Goodwin was selected as the inaugural recipient of the New Voices of Dance Award presented by Dissonance Dance Theater in Washington, D.C.   He is also an NAACP ACT-SO Local and Regional Gold Medalist, as well as a National Finalist.

 Dowell is a nationally recognized artist, master-printer and photographer. For more than four decades, Dowell’s fine art prints, paintings and photographs have been featured in more than 50 one-person exhibitions and represented in the permanent collections of 70 museums and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Boston Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France.

Dowell’s photographs are in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and have been added to his work in the collections of the Fogg Museum of Harvard University, the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Lehigh University Museum. He captures the pulse of cities and agricultural landscapes of America in his large-scale photographs. Working primarily from sunset until dawn, he focuses on the surface of buildings, the reflections of their exteriors and, quietly, their interior spaces. By illuminating the unseen, he brings awareness to a single moment.

This exhibit and dance performance are funded, in part, through the estate gift of Jean Parish, faculty emerita, Art, to the College at Oneonta Foundation, and, in part, by the African American Museum in Philadelphia.