Reni Gower is a professor in the painting and printmaking department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Her art is a blend of both painting and sculpture. It has evolved from flat collages to three-dimensional constructions. Paint is applied to a variety of materials – canvas, cheesecloth, nylon and aluminum screens, plastic, rug-hold, wood – that are suspended in layers from wooden structures.
Gower blends a fluid improvisational painting approach with a repetitively structured and analytical one to create complex images … She incorporates the circle as a repetitive decorative motif, as a metaphor for binary code, and as a cultural symbol of infinite continuity. Through intricate patterning, she combines these references to link the passive precision of technology with the active nuance of handicraft. Her intent is to induce a contemplative state of mind creating a visual respite that mirrors, but also transcends, our accelerated tech-saturated culture. While also addressing issues of beauty, she hopes her art becomes an intimate vehicle for reflection or reprieve.
Ms. Gower has received numerous grants and awards including a NEA / SECCA Southeastern Artist Fellowship; Virginia Commission for the Arts Project Grants; SECAC Awards of Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Catalog of Contemporary Materials; VCUArts Award of Excellence for Research, Teaching, and Service; VCU Faculty Grants for Curatorial Projects; and two Ford Foundation Grants awarded through Syracuse University. Her work is represented in various collections including the Library of Congress Print Collection; Pleasant Company / Mattel, Inc; the American Embassies in Lima, Peru and Osaka, Japan; Media General, Inc; Capital One; and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Ms. Gower currently resides in Virginia where she is a Professor in the Painting and Printmaking Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a member of the Services to Artists Committee of the College Art Association and serves on the Board of the Southeastern College Art Conference. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University, a Master of Arts degree from University of Minnesota-Duluth, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.