Laura Owens & Vincent Van Gogh
Laura Owens (b. 1970) is one of the most celebrated American artists working today. For 25 years she has asked probing questions about the parameters of painting.
In this exhibition, her works responded to Van Gogh’s last paintings. Throughout 2020 Owens lived in and around Arles, and her new work came out of meticulous research into the history of the city and of Van Gogh’s connections there.
Like most artists, Owens has known Van Gogh’s work since she was a child, and she has looked at his art in various ways throughout her career.
The seven actual Van Gogh paintings shown at the Foundation in Arles included loans from museums with which Owens has a deep connection.
Laura Owens has often addressed the spaces where she has exhibited. For this exhibition she created a vast painting, in the form of a unique hand-painted and silkscreened wallpaper installation, which covered the entire walls of the rooms where the Van Gogh’s works were exhibited.
Many of the motifs in the wallpaper come from designs made by Winifred How, who worked in London as an artist and designer shortly after Van Gogh was alive. The installation drew a suspended universe between premodern and contemporary, inspired by How’s work.
Co-curated by Bice Curiger (artistic director of the Foundation Vincent van Gogh Arles) and Mark Godfrey (British art historian, critic, and curator), the exhibition shared how Laura Owens explores the images, colours and methods of Van Gogh, creating a conceptual framework for her investigations.
Published after the exhibition at Foundation Vincent van Gogh Arles, France (19 June – 31 October 2021).