Laura Owens (b. 1970, Euclid, Ohio) lives and works in Los Angeles. For the past two decades, Owens’s influential work has questioned the parameters and possibilities for making and viewing a painting today. She has continually shifted the terms of her practice, incorporating figuration, abstraction, digital techniques, and gestural mark making into multivalent compositions that confound expectations of pictorial space.
In this untitled work, real and artificial gestures coalesce into a vibrant composition laid out across an image from the Los Angeles Times. Marks appear within marks, and thick daubs of paint fill enlarged scribbles. Digital-culture drop shadows appear under the marks, adding to the complicated space of the work; the marks become both a three-dimensional texture on the canvas and a hole punched through the pictorial space established in the painting. The newspaper articles offer a physical and conceptual backdrop for the piece, acting as a survey of the social and political issues facing the world. Through this combination of painterly techniques and her conceptual approach to the history of art, Owens’ skill as one of the most talented painters of her generation is on full display.
Owens’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2016); Secession, Vienna (2015); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2011); Kunsthalle Zürich (2006); Camden Arts Centre, London (2006); Milwaukee Art Museum (2003); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2003); and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2001), among other venues.
Owens’s art has also been featured in group exhibitions such as Forever Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); The Spectacular of Vernacular, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2011); Undiscovered Country, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2004); Whitney Biennial (2004); Public Offerings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2001); Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh (1999); and Vertical Painting Show, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (1997). She is the founder of 356 S. Mission Rd., a contemporary art exhibition space in downtown Los Angeles.
As part of TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art 2016, Laura Owens will receive the amfAR Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS in recognition of her generous support of amfAR’s programs. The award presentation will take place during a brunch on Sunday, October 23, hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky at The Warehouse. TWO x TWO is honored to have Laura Owens as the featured artist of our 18th annual event. On behalf of amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art, we extend heartfelt thanks to Laura, and to Gavin Brown, Sadie Coles, and Gisela Capitain, for their extraordinary support of this event.