Past Exhibition


Shiseido Gallery will host Los Angeles-based artist Laura Owens' first solo show in Japan. Owens had her solo survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 2003, the youngest artist so far to have received such major exposure. In 2004, she participated in the Whitney Biennale and has had a successful continuation of exhibitions since.

Owens was born in Ohio in 1970. After graduating from the California Institute of Arts (Cal Arts), she has based herself in Los Angeles and continues to produce work there. Owens' paintings range from representational works depicting figures, flora and fauna, to works that are constructed from geometric patterns that waver somewhere between abstract and landscape paintings. Her method is a melange of the daring and the delicate; at times she takes acrylic paints oozing out of tubes and pushes them directly onto the canvas, and at other times she carefully composes collage-style drawings using not only pieces of cloth and paper, but also unusual materials such as disposable tongue-depressors or tissue paper. She challenges the given notion that a painting is 2-dimensional through her thick impasto executions, but also produces work that is quite the contrary: watercolor drawings made from lightly layered washes of color. Owens continues to pursue the classical genre of painting but is hardly hesitant to challenge what painting has been expounded to be, pushing its limits further with each work she creates. Her influences can be traced back to many things, from medieval embroidery to Eastern art, while predecessors such as Miro, Hockney and Frankenthaler are often mentioned as comparative precursors to her work. Such indications of influences however, conversely make us realize that her works are not based on shallow eccentricity, but rather, that they are new attempts to revitalize a classic genre.

Some of her works may appear to be idyllic, harmless scenery of animals congregating in a forest, or seagulls gently circling their ways in the air, but upon closer look, spider webs entangle branches and the seagulls are suspended impossibly against the sky, casting their own shadows in mid-air. "It's such a cliche doing flower painting but, at some point you have to say, I'm going to paint flowers, and that's okay," says Owens. Her further comment, "After all, it's just painting," 1 echoes an unpretentious, almost vulnerable honesty, but can also have its distinct overtones, much like the way her paintings embrace both the harmonious and the discordant. Her works up to date are mostly untitled, and for that open-endedness, viewers are given the leeway to bring in their own imagination to interpret each work.

This show will include some works never presented before neither in the States nor in Europe, adding up to about 6 large paintings and 17 drawings.

*Wakefield, Neville, "Laura Owens," Elle Decor, 2001, p.48, p.52

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