Jonathan Owen’s interdisciplinary work toys with the definition of authorship in the spirit of Marcel Duchamp. His sculptures and works on paper start out as other, found artworks, which he alters through a process of subtraction. To create his surreal 3D pieces, he carves directly into 19th-century marble statues and busts. These sculptures were created as imitations of Classical works from the Renaissance, which themselves were inspired by Ancient Greek art and mythology. Owen adds yet another layer of appropriation, carving into the pristine bodies of David and Mercury to dissolve them into abstract, geometric shapes. He mixes Baroque and Minimalist aesthetics in a way that would make purists cringe.
Owen’s works on paper receive a similar treatment. He goes over photographs from vintage books with an eraser, removing layers of ink to turn the figures within them into cryptic and disorienting silhouettes. Owen currently has work in “Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland” at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. The exhibition is showing through January 25.