Orien Lowell Greenough (1921–2008) was a visionary artist and committed antiwar activist. While serving in the United States Coast Guard between 1940 and 1944, his experiences led him to become a conscientious objector. On the strength of his convictions he went AWOL but eventually turned himself in to the authorities. He was incarcerated for a year in a military prison, where he met and was counseled by a Quaker volunteer. During this period he came to understand the nature of his pacifism, which became his lifelong commitment. After the war, Lowell entered art school and for several years studied under Emil Bisttram, the noted teacher and artist of the Southwestern United States.
It was during the 1950s that Lowell became more involved with antiwar activities – marching, protesting, and campaigning against the violence of war. This led him to begin painting and drawing about his antiwar and anti-racist convictions. His work reflects his personal views on the prevalent violence and social injustice of the period. Many works, which span from the mid-50s to the mid-60s, showcase Lowell’s later magical realist style of painting – similar to other noted artists from the era such as Ivan Albright and Irving Norman. Three particularly strong works, Metamorphosis of Edward Teller, Buried In Uniform, and The Klansmen are all prime examples from this period. We continue to appreciate the prescient nature of Lowell’s antiwar art, an art-form that has become commonplace in today’s culture.