Laura Owens

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2003.
Laura Owens, Untitled, 2003. Artist Box contents for Laura Owens, Untitled, 2003. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

Laura Owens collaborated with FWM to fabricate hand-embroidered, handsilk-screened prints. Owens created seven identical large-scale prints on Indian tussah silk, with cotton floss embroidery. When she completed the initial printing and embroidery, she made additions to each piece, creating seven unique variants. Each variant depicts a tree, and through it, the graceful passage of time—flowers bloom and wilt, leaves fall, worms crawl, spiders spin webs, and clouds pass.

In each piece, Owens displays her elegant sense of composition and design. Owens’s series includes hints of Asian landscape painting and printmaking, Renaissance tapestries, and Early American decorative textiles, as well as nods to painters such as Henri Rousseau and Edward Hicks. Owens’s strong sense of individuality leaves her unfettered by these various traditions and sources; she can synthesize this range of information into her unique painterly language.

This FWM residency took full advantage of Owens’s openness to collaborations. Working with FWM’s studio staff, she was able to handle the technical challenges of screen-printing and embroidery with the same level of confidence and sensitivity to the media she has shown in her painting. Citing Owens’s embrace of intuition and intellect, and her careful attention to both technique and content, curator Paul Schimmel called her “one of the most important painters to emerge from Los Angeles in the past decade.”

Artist Bio

American, born 1970. Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA 

 Laura Owens uses her painting practice to reinterpret abstract artistic movements from across the globe. Drawing upon the painting and textile traditions of Japan, China, India, Afghanistan, Italy, France, the United States, Peru, and other countries, Owens reflects the world of art through painted worlds of her own making. Owens attended the Rhode Island School of Design for her BFA, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the California Institute of the Arts for her MFA. She has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including a major survey of Owens’ work organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2017, which later traveled to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Her work is included in The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s permanent collection, as well as the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Germany; and Tate Modern, London, UK among other reputable art institutions.