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Laura Owens

Untitled

2000

Laura Owens has worked in a dizzying array of styles—from crisp abstraction to moody landscape—delving enthusiastically into genre painting, vernacular pattern, and a kind of japonisme that is all the more potent in an age when decoration is often met with critical suspicion. Untitled shows Owens in full possession of her skills at a moment when her earlier tendencies toward abstraction were beginning to give way to a more figurative and illusionistic sense of space. Simultaneously faux-naïve and stylized, her handling renders the traditional landscape scene with a buzzy organic materiality. The viewer falls easily into the picture’s airy depths, but is constantly reminded that she is viewing an image built stroke by stroke from paint.

Laura Owens (b. 1970, Euclid, Ohio; lives and works in Los Angeles)
Untitled, 2000
Acrylic, oil, and watercolor on canvas
110 x 144 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by the Scott D. F. Spiegel Endowment Fund

Each particular painting has a sort of grab bag of places it’s coming from, and those get kind of mixed and chopped up and moved around, and among those elements can be just something that happened on a hike or it can be a painting I saw in a museum or a drawing I made.... But the work is definitely not meant to depict the natural world. —Laura Owens

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