Laura Owens was born in 1970 in Euclid, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1992 from the Rhode Island School of Design and her Master of Fine Arts in 1994 from the California Institute of the Arts.
Owens incorporates a wide and imaginative range of subjects and techniques in her paintings and an eclectic range of visual references. Owens borrows from modernist movements past such as Color Field, Op Art, and Pattern and Decoration; from European painters like Henri Rousseau and Toulouse-Lautrec; and from craft mediums such as textile and embroidery. However, she deliberately leaves out fluffy, pretentious references to big theories in art in favor of creating an experience that engulfs the viewer in pleasure and fantasy. Owens says she approaches her paintings in “a matter-of-fact way in order to take some of the preciousness or exclusiveness out of the history of the practice.” Her unique style moves from figurative to abstraction with energy, whimsical doodles, and sophisticated fine line drawing, culminating in works that at first glance, appear casually made, but in fact are more layered and complex, suggesting that there is more than meets the eye.
Her paintings are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh). Owens lives and works in Los Angeles, California.