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Laura Owens: The Sky Is the Limit

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Phyllis Tuchman reviews a mid-career retrospective of Laura Owens’ work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on view through February 4, 2018.

Tuchman writes that Owen’s recent abstract works “are bold, handsome works that exemplify how a new wave of artists is approaching the making of abstract paintings. Instead of appropriating, say, the virtuoso, whiplash thin linear networks of a Willem de Kooning or an Arshile Gorky or the animated, poured skeins of black and white of a Jackson Pollock, Owens, among others, makes immaculate renderings of heroic, gestural brushstrokes. … Some works also incorporate want ads … and other public notices of the kind that formerly filled the pages of local newspapers across the country. It’s a surprising place to find reading matter! But the artist has used these texts much the way she once deployed paintings within paintings, constructing a painting that connects to other places and forms of media.”

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