Marcelle Joseph Projects is pleased to present Version, a solo exhibition of Laurence Owen’s new paintings and ceramic works inspired by the Tudor history of the exhibition space. The exhibition will take place in the Anne Boleyn Room of Great Fosters, the former royal hunting lodge of King Henry VIII where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were rumoured to have stayed. Taking a portrait of Anne Boleyn by Holbein the Younger, Henry VIII's appointed portraitist, as his starting point, Owen contorts his source material through repetition and playfulness, appropriating the Latin version of Boleyn’s surname, “Bolina”, like a graffiti artist’s tag throughout his paintings. Drawing on historical speculation over the actual identity of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second Queen, based on the radically different portraits of her that were done during her lifetime, Owen has created his own contemporary version of the “authentic myth”, or as the artist puts it, ‘the possible exaggerations we have come to believe as truth, and hence, build our understanding on.’
Clustered above the fireplace, twenty ceramic death masks of Anne Boleyn confront the viewer, vying for attention with their succulent glazes that complement the palette of Owen’s surrounding paintings. On the adjacent walls, twelve paintings of Bolina can be found, some abstracted, some more identifiable – all made with gestural brushstokes and a formal use of line and form that only hints at figuration in a metaphysical way - begging the viewer to decide whether to authenticate Boleyn’s identity or keep the myth alive.
Born in 1984 in the UK, Laurence Owen lives and works in London where he will finish his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools in 2015. Owen graduated from Falmouth College with a BA in Fine Art in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Art Exchange, Colchester, UK (2012) and 20 Hoxton Square, London (2011 and 2009). Owen’s work has been featured in the following recent group shows: Laurence Owen and Vivien Zhang, Rook and Raven Gallery, London (2014); Premiums Interim Projects, Royal Academy Schools, London (2014); At Home Salon, Marcelle Joseph Projects, Ascot, UK (2014); Iconoclasts, Lloyds Club, London (2011); 5 Artists, Post Box Gallery at Phillips de Pury, London (2008); 20 Artists, 20 Hoxton Square, London (2007); and In the Darkest Hour There May Be Light, Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection, Serpentine Gallery, London (2007).