Rachel Owens uses discarded objects and detritus as the basis of her sculptures and monumental installations; her materials have included cardboard boxes, broken beer bottles, editions of The New York Times, and rubber tires. She often uses these materials to construct botanical structures, or anthropological figures and animals. Her 2005 installation Scatter-Hoarder featured a gigantic common gray squirrel poised over its nest of newspaper and refuse. Fittingly, the subject of her pieces frequently deal with themes of human waste, wreckage, loss, and powerlessness. Owens says that her own practice is interested in the “human social condition, our ecosystem, political strife and the inextricable ways these things are connected.” Owens has also made work that responds directly to political events and conditions, including the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.