Laura Owens

Solo en Inglès

acrylic painting on canvas

Laura Owens, Untitled, 1999. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 60 x 60 in. (152.4 x 152.4 cm). Collection of Annie & Matt Aberle, Los Angeles. © Laura Owens

Narrator: This painting is based on an image that Owens made in an early computer-drawing program called Kid Pix.

Scott Rothkopf: She worked hard to recreate those kinds of strokes, like a spray or a dob, that you could make in these programs in paint. So they had a different kind of thickness and life.

Narrator: Take a moment to focus on the lower-left hand portion of the painting. There’s a red-and-yellow upside-down arc, surrounded by free-flowing abstract forms. With that area in your mind’s eye, go through the door and look for a smaller painting, made in the same style. It’s like a blown-up detail of the area we were just looking at, although Owens made this smaller painting first.

Scott Rothkopf: This gallery approximates a space in London where Owens had an exhibition in 1999. She often approached her exhibitions thinking very specifically about the architecture of a given gallery, and this is a perfect example of the way that she thought. Here, she was thinking not only about the gallery space, but also about the idea of a diptych, which is, of course, a work of art that includes two parts as part of a larger whole.

On one wall you see a diptych of two monkeys facing each other across a blank space.

Narrator: These paintings were in the same exhibition as the ones based on the digital drawing. They look completely different, but they explore similar ideas about the relationships between paintings and architecture.

Scott Rothkopf: She thought of the blank space between the two panels as being as important as the part where the painting was. You see their eyes locking across this great divide, and the edges of the canvas reach from wall to wall, and ceiling nearly to floor.