Lauren Owens: At Home With Friends is on view at Plinth Gallery, Denver
June 3 – July 30, 2022
Plinth Gallery is pleased to present the work of ceramic artist Lauren Owens. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and maintains a studio practice in Denver Colorado.
Lauren Owens’ ceramic work is influenced by Mid Century Modern design. The artist fabricates her own models starting with a solid piece of plaster that she cuts and carves to obtain the desired forms. From that original model, a positive shape, she fabricates a casting mold that is the negative iteration of the model. Owens uses a cone 5-6 whiteware casting slip to which she adds ceramic stains to achieve the fired color intensity. Over the past years she has tested a broad spectrum of commercial stains in various percentages. Hundreds of tests later she achieved her intense color palette. Ceramic stains that are inclusion pigments in higher percentages cause severe cracking, sometimes visible in the bisque but most often the final glaze firing. The most difficult stains to work with are reds and yellows. All pieces are sprayed with a transparent and very clear glaze that is frit based.
Geometry has been part of every civilization to define spatial reasoning and it was the pervasive use in modern design that peaked Owens’ interest. The angles, lines, and shapes matched with chromatic colors of the mid-century became her Ah-Ha moment. Her parents’ exacting nature and manner.
“I design useful objects that embrace the repetitions of form with clean lines and crisp angles. I make my own models and molds and slip cast the pieces using a cone 6 white ware clay body pigmented with ceramic stains.”
Owens is a fastidious model and mold maker, developing the original form using foam core with tape to create an oversize shape to account for the shrinkage of the slip. She pours plaster into that form capturing the many angles. These are further refined with scrapers, files, and then finally wet sanding. This creates a solid plaster model from which she makes a multiple part plaster mold for slip casting. Recently, working with a skilled computer modeler and designer, she had .stl files created to have larger pieces 3D printed. She then made 3-part molds to cast these pieces, which are now in developmental stages.
One might see her work as very process oriented. While process plays a significant role in her ceramics, she always has the vision of the final product in mind. Mold making and slip casting are only ways to achieve the desired result.
Often working in sets, some having a positive and negative relationship, she defines their presence with a duality, as in her vases and salt and pepper shakers, in which the geometry is reversed in each piece. The angular vases are presented in sets of three, based on precise scaling of their sizes. The titles for her work are all named after her friends. Not visioning herself as a “production potter, she does make significant volumes using her website as a marketing tool with great success.
Her work is clearly well thought out, impeccably crafted, defined by bold color and appealing shapes that work seamlessly together. Lauren Owens is currently represented by Plinth Gallery in Denver, Colorado.
Author: Jonathan Kaplan
Visit Lauren Owens’ website.
3520 Brighton Blvd
Denver CO, 80216