Laura Owens
Audio Guide Playlist


Scott Rothkopf: Owens made this painting when she was invited to be in the Whitney Biennial in 2014. She wanted to make a painting that in fact had a secret story behind it. So that this painting that you see in front of you is in fact just one of five elements that make a larger whole the other four elements are hidden behind the canvas. If you could look around the back you would find three more paintings and even a little book, all related to the image that you see in front of you. Owens has said that if this painting where ever exhibited on its own, it would have a little exhibition within it, and we could take these four other parts out and hang or display them nearby this individual canvas.

One of the essential aspects of this painting for me, is the way it walks this line between something that's kind of cute and charming on the one hand, and also a little bit anxious or scary on the other. I think that as much as Owens is interested in qualities of play, of joy, of exuberance, she's also interested in the inverse. The times that people are anxious, or sad. The times when we face conundrums in our lives, and in fact, she's looking for ways, in her paintings, whether through abstraction or the way she treats the surface, to also deal with some of those predicaments.


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