Polyester resin, metal powder, fibre glass, MDF, plaster,
55 x 45cm
Tom Owen’s new works are assemblages of materials and techniques. He works with plasterboard, found imagery, mechanical and digital print and paint. Although employing broad methods the works are not about the exuberance this might imply. Rather, they seem more about reluctance. For example, the easy charm of painterly tropes is used to draw in the viewer but this is immediately undermined by the fact that these marks are often mechanical reproductions, indirect representations. The surfaces he prints on, such as plasterboard, can be frustratingly blank. Their machine made matt planes offer little for the viewer to engage with. Sometimes embossed, they are lent a hard authoritative edge. Lino-printed motifs are repeated, adjusted, corrected across the picture plane. It is left uncertain as to whether this is about creating a holistic movement or interrupting the composition of one. Elsewhere fragments are attached to the surface with almost throwaway detachment: magnets are used or materials that won’t quite adhere. With fragments dispersed, presented without giving too much away, the works move between suggesting and declining connections between the pieces. What emerges is a focus on the physicality of objects and materials. Perhaps it becomes a proposition, functioning in a mode that is more akin to source material, so that the next viewer can activate it again further down the line as he re-uses its various factions.