Barbara Owen


Barbara Owen is a contemporary painter and mixed media artist. Her work has been featured in numerous curated and juried exhibitions from the Newport Art Museum, RI, Minor Injury Gallery, Brooklyn , NY, The Arts Center in Troy, New York, the University Art Gallery of UMass Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA, Yellow Peril Gallery, Providence, RI, the Jamestown Art Center, Jamestown, RI. She has also had solo exhibitions at AS220 Project Space, Providence, RI, Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford, MA and Knight Campus Art Gallery, CCRI, Warwick, RI. 

Owen graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor of Arts degree as an Interdivisional Major in Sculpture and Poetry. She wrote a creative thesis under the direction of the poet Ben Belitt, studied sculpture with Brower Hatcher and Lee Tribe as well as studied painting with the painter/art critic Sidney Tillim. Upon graduation she went on to apprentice with the sculptor Brower Hatcher for four years. It was during those years, and a move to New York City, that she turned to painting. She lived and worked alongside artists and craftsman in the non for profit GMDC building during the early years of the Brooklyn artist revival taking place in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. After 12 years in New York she moved to Rhode Island in 2004 with her family. She works out of a studio in Pawtucket.

Artist Statement

I have been working on several bodies of work since the spring of 2000 when I first extracted and isolated specific organic shapes from the layers of abstraction I had been painting. I developed an iconography and found that these shapes became more and more animated though the process of drawing, painting and now with cut paper. The work I make explores the space between abstraction and representation. Each painting or drawing is comprised of interwoven abstract forms for the viewer to dissect. Through these I explore color relationships, their simplicity and complexity. The origin of my new work on paper comes from a decision to cut up the drawings and templates that I had previously used in the preparation of a painting. These cut shapes became the focus, pulling the work into a new direction. 

In this work the planning and the execution have become intertwined. Although these works are prepared in the studio, their final configuration only takes place as they are assembled on the wall. The installed piece combines process and object, it presents the inseparability of knowing/not knowing. The installation is the result, sum, and residue of action, time and space. Her work can be viewed on the following website: