It’s a bit of Americana at its best.
As of July 4, they’ve been married for 45 years and making art together for almost as long.
Longtime Langley residents Mary Lowe, a glass artist, and J T Lowe, a woodworker, are the featured artists for an exhibition entitled “Life’s Evolution of Art,” at the Whidbey Art Gallery in Langley.
It’s an appropriate title for the show, as the couple said their work — like their marriage — has indeed evolved from what it once was when they married 45 years ago.
J T looks a bit like a sea-captain with his white whiskers, large hands and seaman’s cap. There is also a gleam in his eye that comes from his natural humorist bent which is reflected in the satiric quality of many of his wood sculptures.
Even after many years of marriage, the effervescent Mary seems still tickled by J T’s dry humor, taking the funny asides he adds to her conversation in stride as she explains their life in art together.
After she began to study painting, Mary discovered she would never be a painter and found her way to the sculpture studio in a ceramics program at San Jose State University in California.
There she received her bachelor of arts degree in ceramics and her master’s in sculpture and began her long fascination with glass art.
Besides being a funny guy, J T is an all-around handyman who is an expert model-maker from his many years working in the aeronautical industry.
In fact, there is an airplane model built by him that hangs in an airforce base in Colorado.
J T was destined to fall into art.
After Mary started showing her work, J T began building stands for his wife’s various sculptures which evolved into a talent for sculpting wood.
“Well, he started getting into sculpture, got into a show and took off,” Mary said.
Mary looks admiringly at her oldest friend, “I just say to him, ‘Do this,’ and he does it! I tell him, ‘Make me a wolf’ and he makes it for me just like that.”
The Lowes were two of the first gallery members to join the Whidbey Art Gallery in Langley, previously known as the Artists Cooperative Gallery.
Mary creates work in glass, designing and executing both functional and decorative pieces, including animal sculptures that she creates with her husband.
Wood-carved by J T and colorfully painted, the animal sculptures are a team effort, with Mary creating a glasswork center in the belly of the beast which allows the viewer to peer inside the sculpture and discover yet another sculpture within.
The couple also teamed up to create a whimsical chess set and board made of glass and wood. Look closely at the chess pieces and you will be apprised of J T ’s particular sense of humor.
And instead of rocking horses, J T creates fantastical and colorfully painted rocking birds, also on display at the show.
J T’s precise carving work includes a collection of miniatures which depict full rooms with detailed features like a tiny set of wooden chalices, each unique and displayed on the tiniest of bookcases in what looks like an extremely well-equipped dining room for a finicky bumblebee.
J T’s satire is also evident in another miniature scene depicting the inside of a church. The pastor who speaks at this podium may be longwinded without fear of needing any bathroom breaks.
Join the Whidbey Art Gallery members in celebrating the art of these two gifted artists at a special reception
from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight. The show runs through Thursday, July 31.
The gallery will also be showing the work of all its members including metal sculpture, garden pieces, textiles, jewelry, paintings and photography.
Look for the next show, “Pets & People,” in August.
The Whidbey Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and is located at 117 Anthes Ave. in Langley.
Call 221-7675 for more information or visit www.whidbeyartists.com.