Laura Owens: In Conversation

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2013, flashe, acrylic, and oil on canvas; 137 1/2 × 120 i
Laura Owens, Untitled, 2013, flashe, acrylic, and oil on canvas; 137 1/2 × 120 inches (photo by Fran and Doug Parker, courtesy the artist, 356 South Mission Road, and Gavin Brown’s enterprise)

The second part of Jan Tumlir and Stephen Berens' conversation with painter Laura Owens (part one is here).

Owens remarks: "I really want paintings to be problems and I want to activate the viewer to feel that this absorption is disrupted in some way. Even within the individual works, the reason I’m using these different techniques and have these drop shadows that are pushing out is so that you can’t fall into it like a window. The painting is coming out at you and asking you to put these things together. Why is this painted on a newspaper-like ground? Why is everything so disparate? It gives you more chances to level these hierarchies and talk about heterogeneity, because here’s a reference to Matisse and then a children’s mural, and you get to slam those two things together in the same exhibition, two different ways of making. So there are more spaces to move through, all these different levels in space. When I think of absorption, I think of going into this world, this other world that relates to me more in a photographic way, where you’re teleported somewhere. Whereas what interests me in painting is that it comes out into the room, almost punches you in the face. And you can, if you want, go back in deep space because it has so much elasticity. But I really dislike paintings where I’m just meant to dive in. There’s a passivity to absorption that I’m not interested in."

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