Capturing fleeting details of the suburban landscape, Andy Owen’s paintings explore our contemporary environment. This exhibition presents new works considering the significance of London as a commuter city; exploring the disconnected encounters we have with the urban architecture of our day-to-day surroundings.
Imposing skeletal forms of long defunct gasworks, the ultramodern architecture of the Olympic Park or an airliner’s contrail illuminated by the rising sun become points of departure for the artist’s compositions. Capturing snapshots of this scenery whilst travelling through the city, Owen’s studio practice then merges digital technology with painterly tradition; first using digital manipulation to edit, combine and distort the photographs – alluding to the notion that we increasingly encounter our environment mediated through technology – before translating them into a painted surface.
The constructed scenes continue to develop and evolve with the application and erasure of subsequent layers, the resultant works resembling places that might be familiar yet seem strange as if recalled from a dream, or glimpsed from a speeding train. Their transient aesthetic engages with Watford through its position as a hub on the periphery of a sprawling metropolis – a place that ways converge and diverge – experienced in ever shifting moments by regular commuters and vagrant travellers alike. Referencing 19th Century Romantic Painting and incorporating diverse influences from modern Science Fiction, these constructed landscapes transcend digital, cinematic and painterly space.
Artist’s Tour: Saturday 16 November at 2pm
Children’s Workshops: Please contact the gallery for details