press release

‘I feel like there’s a space of personal freedom for me where my art-making happens. When I go into that space, I’m completely in this world of possibility.’ Laura Owens

There are not many painters around at the moment who can evoke such far horizons and such a sense of freedom in their work as Laura Owens (1970 Euclid, Ohio), an American artist based in Los Angeles. Owens succeeds in making painting a challenging adventure for both the eye and the intellect of the viewer, in a way that is seductive yet disturbing. Owens blends the traditions of art history with those of applied and naïve art and abstract themes. Instead of experiencing the art of the past as a burden, Owens manages to use the history of ‘making pictures’ as a force in her work. It is the first time that 23 paintings of Laura Owens has been exhibited in the Netherlands, along with 90 preliminary studies that have never before left her atelier.

Owens’ virtuoso command of the profession arouses much admiration, as does her inventive appropriation of images and visual systems from all sorts of eras, categories and corners of the earth. These include 18th-century embroidery, Chinese landscape painting, Japanese prints, Op art, Color Field painting, textile patterns, folk art and her own photography. Owens’ habit of switching from landscape to abstract to figurative and back again conjure up free associations in the mind of the viewer.

Owens’ works seem to be made for pleasure, but they keep exploring new areas. With her casual eclecticism and diversity of cooperative ventures (she has made works with other artists, and organised exhibitions such as Cavepainting (2002) with Peter Doig and Chris Ofili), Owens provides resistance to traditional ideas about heroic isolation and ego-oriented signature style.

The exhibition has been prepared and organised by the Kunsthalle Zürich. An illustrated oeuvre catalogue has been published by the Kunsthalle Zürich in collaboration with JRP | Ringier. The texts are by Gloria Sutton, Rod Mengham, Beatrix Ruf and Laura Owens in conversation with colleague artists; 224 pp. ISBN 10:3-905770-11-3.

only in german

Laura Owens
Paintings & studies 1994 – 2006

12.06.06 - 13.08.06 Kunsthalle Zürich
29.09.06 - 26.11.06 Camden Arts Centre, London
20.01.07 - 22.04.07 Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst Münster
29.05.07 - 19.08.07 Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht