Peter Schjeldahl writes about the work of Laura Owens. A mid-career retrospective of Owens' work will be on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York from November 10, 2017 – February 4, 2018.
Schjeldahl concludes: "[Owens] is a genius of revelations, along the lines of that premise. She revealed twenty years ago, and has kept doing it, that what seemed a terminally exhausted state of painting could be a garden of unlimited, freshening delights. Now she confronts a larger imbroglio. Does art still, if it ever did, matter beyond the commercial and institutional bubbles of the art world? Can aesthetic pleasures have ethical payoffs, imparting lessons for life? Or does life overrule rationales for art altogether? These are not abstract questions for Owens. They spur her to propositions that, availing or not, solicit dead-honest responses of eye, mind, and heart."