Reni Gower is a visual artist, educator, and curator. Her artwork is represented in many prestigious collections and it has been exhibited at international and national venues for over 40 years. Numerous awards include a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2020) SECAC’s Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement (2017) and the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teacher of Art Award (2014) In addition to her painting practice, she curates award winning traveling exhibitions that include The Garden, FLASHPOINTS: Material / Intent / Fused, Geometric Aljamía: a Cultural Transliteration, and Pulped Under Pressure: The Art of Handmade Paper.
After 37 years, Professor Emerita Gower retired from Virginia Commonwealth University in December 2018. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University, an MA from University of Minnesota-Duluth, and a BS with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from the Midwest, Gower currently resides in Virginia. Gower’s artwork is inspired by sacred geometry, which is thought to convey sacred and universal truths by reflecting the fractal interconnections (micro to macro) of the natural world. By reiterating these ratios, her work unlocks the language of abstraction through the collective recognition of geometric perfection that is evident in ethnic patterns all around the world. The unique patterns in her papercuts are informed by Amish piece quilts, Celtic knotwork, and Islamic ornamental tiles. Using a simple snap blade, she works slowly to hand cut complex works that foster mindfulness and counter visual skimming. Enticed through touch, repetition, and beauty, her work encourages a physical, contemplative, and restorative slowing down.