Brent Owens

Brent Owens
May 21 – July 2, 2022
CLOSED June 25

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Greenpoint Terminal Gallery is proud to present Arrangements with Yourself, a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures by New York based artist, Brent Owens.

“Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself, when you're old enough to repay but young enough to sell?" – Neil Young, Tell Me Why.

This cryptic line, which Neil Young himself described as “gibberish” in 1998, was playing on repeat in Owens’ mind as he conceived this body of work - a kind of bewildering mantra to work to, as he describes it. Inspired by the art and craft of floral arrangement, Owens here revisits and reassembles the devices of the visual language he’s developed over the last eighteen years in Brooklyn. Familiar sculptural formats like Owens’ faux neon and wooden “tapestries” are reintroduced in dialogue with new elements in works that grapple with, if not articulate, a vision of our fumbling and dysfunctional relationship with the natural world.

Owens’ plywood “tapestry” works in this exhibition pay tribute to the “Nudie Suit,” the apex of country-western fashion opulence of yore. In this way these works hark back to Owens’ Appalachian background, but they also take inspiration from the environs of rural upstate New York, where he has recently relocated with his family, as well as elements of figuration. In a permutation of the “tapestries” that may be the artist’s most personal to date, these pieces suggest a coming to terms.

The exhibition’s sculptural “arrangements,” loosely floral and leaning occasionally into abstraction, integrate a range of gestures: the ham-fisted, the intricately crafted, and the selection of naturally-formed readymades. Likening it to his experience as a youth drawing dirty pictures in the back pew of a church, the artist thinks of this union of natural material and his own aesthetic whim as a kind of sacrilege. He asserts here a continued dialogue with his Southern Baptist upbringing - imploring the biblically-based notion of dominion over nature via grotesque and seductive embodiment. Like a kind of anthropocene blues - this body of work is celebratory, but not without a sense of lament.

Brent Owens was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1980 and received a BFA with an emphasis in Sculpture from Winthrop University in 2003. He currently lives and works in StoneRidge, New York.In his formative years in Western North Carolina and South Carolina, Appalachian folk-craft, aSouthern Baptist upbringing, and Southern Gothic Literature imparted indelible influences on his work and life. His primarily sculptural artwork is largely based in woodworking, fusing two disparate strains of Americana: workmanship and a thirst for novelty, in a particular strand of pop production that borders on the surreal. He has shown extensively in exhibitions throughoutNew York, and in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Venice, Italy. He is the recipient of the 2021 National Academy Affiliated American Academy in Rome Fellowship.