"Undergrowth" by Paula Owen
artist: PAULA OWEN
15" x 19" Acrylic on handmade paper, 2022
The Unbound Botanicals series germinated during the pandemic shutdown. In the absence of regular social interaction, time and solitude were fertile ground for each piece to begin with an intentional, personal challenge to respond––to a surface, shape, tool, observation, or memory that sat at the back of my mind. Committed to allowing each piece to evolve incrementally over time, often starting over completely, they became discoveries.
The “unboundness” of these works does not refer to anything radical, but to the imagined––quite the opposite of how traditional botanical drawings and paintings are created. Uninterested in representation, I convey some otherwise unexpressed quality of these familiar references in the natural world.
Paula Owen, soon to retire from her position as President of Southwest School of Art, began her tenure in1996 following 11 years as the Director of the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Virginia and various other roles in art education. A merger of Southwest School of Art and University of Texas at San Antonio, a collaboration which will facilitate a new and expanded school of art, has been recently announced.
Owen has served as curator of numerous exhibitions and on national and regional boards and panels, including the Pew Artist Fellowships, the Bush Foundation Fellowships, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a published arts writer and co-authored the book, Objects and Meaning: New Perspectives on Art and Craft, published by Scarecrow Press. Most recently, her essay “Fabrication and Encounter: When Content is a Verb,” was published in Maria Elena Buzcek’s book, Extra/Ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art.
She is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from her alma mater, Luther College in Iowa, and was recognized by the city of San Antonio with a Distinction in the Arts Award. Owen holds the MS degree in art education from Minnesota State University and the MFA in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work is held in numerous private and public collections.
Married to Ben Owen, she has three children and six grandchildren.
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