Laura Owens’s striking hand-painted wallpaper covers the walls of a Vicent Van Gogh exhibition, on show at Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles. “Laura Owens and Vincent Van Gogh” exhibition features Owens’ colorful handmade wallpaper, and seven of Van Gogh’s paintings, exploring the dichotomy between a new style of art and the 19th-century post-impressionism, so famous around the world.
The Los Angeles-based artist adorns the Arles Gallery with her outstanding hand-painted wallpaper, together with Van Gogh’s famous paintings, which have been loaned to the foundation in France, from museums and art galleries around the world.
The designs made by Winifred How, who worked in London as an artist and designer shortly after Van Gogh was alive, were also a source of inspiration for the motifs in the wallpaper. Owens, the contemporary artist, found an archive of how’s work in Los Angeles while considering the invitation to make this show in Arles.
Parts of the wallpaper have over fifty layers of silk-screening; some of the paints include iridescent pigments whose colours shift under different lights. The wall becomes an intoxicating, refreshing means of conquering the space of an exhibition and charting surprising new mental territory.Laura Owens
For this Van Gogh Exhibition, Owens created a vast painting, in the form of a unique hand-painted and silkscreened wallpaper installation, which covers the entire walls of the rooms where the Van Gogh works are showcased.
Van Gogh has also influenced her work throughout her career, her “conceptual use of dramatic impaste”, and echoing through her subject matter. For the Van Gogh exhibition, she studied the provenance of each of the Van Gogh paintings on show and spent most of 2020 living in and around Arles, where she was able to research the history of the city and Van Gogh’s experience there.
“Laura Owens and Vincent van Gogh” will be on show at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles until 31 October 2021. The exhibition features lots of geometric shapes, swirling patterns, and elements of nature such as flowers, shells, and trees.