Situated in the fascinating space between representation and abstraction, Doug Owen's graceful sculptures offer up a wealth of associations. The horse, his perennial subject, has of course been a favorite of artists for centuries; aside from humans themselves, perhaps no other creature has been portrayed in art so frequently. Depictions of horses did not vanish with the advent of modernism: they figure prominently in the works of Picasso, who was captivated by the prehistoric horse drawings on the walls of the Lascaux caves.
In his single-minded devotion to the equine form, Owen joins the ranks of such renowned artists as Frederic Remington and Susan Rothenberg, for whom horses retain a primal, almost mythical power. Like them, he also makes his home in the Western U.S., where horses further connote the complex history of the American frontier.
Although Owen's forms undoubtedly resemble horses, they can also be seen as pure assemblages of faintly recognizable objects namely car, tractor, and motorcycle parts. Owen's choice of medium imbues his sculptures with a touch of humor, of irony: his horses are constructed out of the very material that ultimately replaced them. At the same time, these vintage vehicle parts are themselves obsolete and carry with them a certain nostalgic air. In their incorporation of found objects (Owen retrieves his metal from abandoned lots, ditches, old farms), the sculptures recall the work of artists like Ed Kienholz and Noah Purifoy, whose sculptures likewise use manufactured detritus to create new, powerful structures.
Owen's sculptures are striking for their sinewy, Picassoesque lines (the artist originally studied gesture drawing), but their colors are equally arresting. Bottle greens, goldenrod yellows, coppery browns, tans, ochres, and blues: these are colors most often associated with landscape painting. Indeed, like the earthy sculpture of Tony Cragg, Owen's horses seem perfectly at home in their settings. Grazing, lounging or surveying their realm, it's as if they've assembled themselves almost magically out of the surrounding environment.
A culmination of 40 years of artistic exploration, Doug Owen's sculpture has garnered an international following in recent years. Now currently residing in western Colorado, Doug is excited to be working with his 2 sons Matthew and Ben on collaboration pieces and to see there inherited artistic talent blossom into careers.