Marcelle Joseph Projects is pleased to present V E R S I O N, a solo exhibition of Laurence Owen's new paintings and ceramic works inspired by the Tudor history of the exhibition space. The exhibition will take place in the Anne Boleyn Room of Great Fosters, the former royal hunting lodge of King Henry VIII where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were rumoured to have stayed. Taking a portrait of Anne Boleyn by Holbein the Younger, Henry VIII's appointed portraitist, as his starting point, Owen contorts his source material through repetition and playfulness, appropriating the Latin version of Boleyn's surname, "Bolina", like a graffiti artist's tag throughout his paintings. Drawing on historical speculation over the actual identity of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second Queen, based on the radically different portraits of her that were done during her lifetime, Owen has created his own contemporary version of the "authentic myth", or as the artist puts it, 'the possible exaggerations we have come to believe as truth, and hence, build our understanding on.'
Clustered above the fireplace and around the rest of the room, twenty-two ceramic death masks of Anne Boleyn confront the viewer, vying for attention with their succulent glazes that complement the palette of Owen's surrounding paintings. On the adjacent walls, eleven paintings of Bolina can be found, some abstracted, some more identifiable - all made with gestural brushstokes and a formal use of line and form that only hints at figuration in a metaphysical way - begging the viewer to decide whether to authenticate Boleyn's identity or keep the myth alive.