Laura Owens - New Work

17 June - 30 July 2000 

Laura Owens

Laura Owens: installation view, Inverleith House, 2000.

Laura Owens

Laura Owens: installation view, Inverleith House, 2000. 

In Summer 2000, Inverleith House, within the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, showcased two beautiful exhibitions which combine contemporary art and historical botany.

Laura Owens is an American abstract painter with a vivid palette who is presented her first solo museum exhibition in Britain at Inverleith House. This followed on from two successful shows at Sadie Coles HQ, in addition to inclusion within Young Americans part two at the Saatchi Gallery and showing widely throughout Europe and America. Laura was born in Euclid, Ohio in 1970 and lives in Los Angeles. Laura studied at the Rhode Island School of Drawing and at the California Institute of the Arts and is seen by many to be a major new voice in contemporary painting.

The display by Laura Owens takes place alongside a first showing of a series of 19th Century botanical teaching diagrams from the rich archive of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. These diagrams in watercolour were used for lectures in light filled rooms - a sharp contrast to slide show lectures today. The exhibition, taking place in the former residence of Regius Keeper Balfour who commissioned them, links the historical past and artistic present of Inverleith House which has been an art gallery for forty years. The light-filled rooms - and the views from the rooms to the garden beyond - made both exhibitions even more beautiful.

A catalogue documented both exhibitions, including writings by the botanist Henry Noltie and the American-based art critic Susan Morgan. The contrast between the work of Laura Owens and the botanical teaching diagrams is particularly interesting as Laura's art was made as a dialogue with the historical works. The exhibition was both very accessible and uniquely beautiful.

Exhibition presented in associated with Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Catalogue supported by California Institute of the Arts.
Conservation work on the Botanical Teaching Diagrams supported by the Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust.

All work courtesy of the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London. 

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)