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Laura Owens appeared on the international scene in the mid-nineties with strikingly lyrical paintings. In good post-modern fashion, her work blends abstraction with figurative art, and traditional painting with applied and naive art. But whereas the first generation of post-modern artists used irony and relativity as weapons, Owens allows all sorts of styles, techniques and motifs from past and present to exist alongside one another with no visible implications. This attitude to art history and Owens’ craftsman-like (non-conceptual) approach to the profession gave a fresh impulse to painting. Many of Owens’ works are untitled, which is her way of emphasising that art should show rather than tell.

An asphalt road cuts across a desert landscape in watery colours. A striking road sign stands to the right of the road, next to a large bush. The background is divided into irregular diagonal strips on which small cactuses are depicted, casting shadow-like reflections. It is hard to say what Owens intends to express with this painting. The blue strip at the top, for instance, can be read as sky, but also as water. The road sign indicates that travellers need to keep to the right side of the road.

Details

  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Laura Owens
  • Date: 2003
  • Physical Dimensions: 213,36 x 203,2 cm
  • Provenance: Acquired with support of the Mondriaanfonds and BankGiro loterij. ©Laura Owens, Peter Cox/Bonnefantenmuseum
  • Medium: Oil and acrylic paint on canvas

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