Frank Owen at Nancy Hoffman Gallery
October 29-December 12, 2015
On October 29 Nancy Hoffman Gallery opens a show of new paintings by Frank Owen entitled “Next,” continuing through December 12, 2015.
Leaving behind the grid that anchored his last exhibition “Raft,” Owen ventures into freewheeling space with an exhibition that comprises works of the past five years. Owen’s palette has upped the volume, and his forms or skins of paint have taken on new life, new energy, new thrills. Swirls and sworls fly past gestures of paint; lines crisscross like planks of wood from a rubbing; layers of paint careen into fields of saturated color—an Owen universe of outer space. There are few grids, and linear elements, which Owen laminates into each work, keeping our eye circulating around the canvas.
The artist talks about his new works:
“I want the paintings to feel rambunctious, extravagant, unruly. These new paintings are off the grid. More akimbo than the Raft, grid infused works. Like somebody kicked the struts out, and everything is flopping or tumbling.”
His colors are vibrant and intense, gold, reds, oranges, blues, yellows, and more reds: they heat up a room, and like magnetic fields, draw us into his universe.
Owen says of his process, “I am a laminator. I begin by making abstract collage elements on coated paper. I make dozens more than I’ll ever use. I’ve taken to calling them skins. I begin to peel them off the poly, and I place them, compose them. The whole process is front-to-back. It’s the opposite of the conventional way of layering an image. The first skins I lay down will appear as the front layer of the painting.”
“All of these works are made in the far-flung way that my work has been made for several decades. That is, I work in verso on sheets of high-density polyethylene varying in thickness from 1/8” to 1”. Sometimes the heavy sheets are engraved and the painting is cast to effect a relief. Many of the forms are executed offside and then laminated onto the work in progress. This process calls upon me to visualize the layers as they may appear in the finished work. I made my earliest paintings using this indirect technique in 1967 and it has remained a mainstay of my practice. The paintings produced this way exist in my imagination and are 95% complete before I mount canvas on the paint film and peel and flip it to be seen for the first time. There is some surprise, but the overall feeling is one of homecoming. Besides, I can always paint on the front if there is a need.”
Owen is an artist always filled with new ideas. He says:
“Most days provide me small discoveries and inventions. A few of those have opened up worlds of possibility and new directions. I am always eager to glimpse the “Next.”
Frank Owen was born in Kalispell, Montana in 1939. He received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from the University of California at Davis. He was awarded the University of California Regents Fellowship in 1967-68 and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1978-79 and 1989-90. He received the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as a Faculty Development Grant from the University of Vermont. In 2010 Owen received a grant from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation in recognition of a lifetime of creative achievement.
His work has been widely shown in this country at The Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; The Art Institute of Chicago; Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, Florida; Francis Colburn Gallery, University of Vermont, Burlington; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Decker Gallery, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois; Lake Placid Art Center, New York; Madison Art Center, Wisconsin; Maier Museum of Art, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Virginia; Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; Oklahoma City Art Museum, Oklahoma; Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and abroad at Berlin Kunstmuseum, Germany.
His work is represented in numerous museum and public collections, among them The Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Grinnell College, Iowa; Ithaca College, New York; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Madison Art Center, Wisconsin; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Nelson Art Gallery, University of California, Davis; Oberlin College, Ohio; The St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri; State University of New York, Plattsburg; Webster College, St. Louis, Missouri; Frederick R. Weisman Foundation of Art, Los Angeles; and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Frank Owen resides in Keene Valley, New York.
For additional information and/or photographs, please call 212-966-6676 or e-mail
the gallery at [email protected].