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Laura Owens

°1970, Euclid (US) – lives and works in Los Angeles (US)

Commingling a variety of art-historical techniques and tropes, Laura Owens’s work questions expected modes of composition and representation, and her paintings typically comprise several complex, additive layers in a more-than-meets-the-eye pastiche.

Drawing on Chinese and Japanese landscape painting, craft embroidery, and modernist masters, among other sources, Owens’s early work often features fantastical animals in highly illustrated settings. These canvases, often blending abstraction, figuration, and decoration, are reminiscent of the work of Henri Rousseau and brim with possibility in their dreamlike experimentation. Owens meditates on the ambiguity of representation and frequently depicts the gallery space itself in an almost uncanny state. This investigation into how her art is ultimately viewed and consumed remains an important proposition in her work.

Since the late 2000s, Owens has largely left behind figurative elements in favor of a bold, buoyant, abstract gestural mark, often layered on newspaper clippings, posters, or grids. Built through Photoshop, then painted by hand to emulate a digital aesthetic, these multilayered compositions create a puzzling, intricate trompe l’oeil, wherein different techniques become indistinguishable. The creative reimagining of the traditional brushstroke in a digital age is a hallmark of Owens’s work, which attests to the persistent power of the painted surface.

(courtesy of Guggenheim, New York)

Laura Owens had solo exhibitions at a.o. CCA Wattis, San Francisco; Secession, Vienna; Kunstmuseum, Bonn; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; Kunsthalle, Zurich; and Camden Arts Centre, London; MoCA, Los Angeles; and Aspen Art Museum, Aspen. Group exhibitions include Le Consortium, Dijon; Museum Brandhorst, Munich; Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle; Rubell Collection, Miami; Francois Pinault Collection, Venice; MCA, Chicago; and MoCA, Los Angeles.

Laura Owens is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of her work.

Sadie Coles, London 

Capitain Petzel, Berlin 

Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York / Rome 

You can also discover more of Laura Owens’ work on her own website

works by Laura Owens