Owens + Crawley
WELCOME to the Indy Arts Studio Series, where you will find behind-the-scenes information such as raw footage from conversations with featured artists, details about artwork development, artist bios, the show at-a-glance, and other details the exhibitions in Gallery 924 at the Arts Council.
Owens + Crawley: “Everything is Sacred, Nothing is Sacred” and Other Modern Allegories
March 4 – 25, 2016
Artist team Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley first explored working together while Owens taught art and Crawley taught science at local high schools a number of years ago. Their mutual passion for the connections between art and science eventually brought them together in a public art partnership that has led to installations across the United States.
While their work is typically designed for large outdoor spaces, this new body of work was created for a more intimate gallery experience. Works in this exhibition utilize allegory to engage the relationship between art and audience through sculpture, sound, and light.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Quincy Owens, an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Arts Fellow, is a professional artist in Indianapolis who focuses on both 2D and 3D art, along with public installations.
Luke Crawley is an Indianapolis sound artist, fabricator, and concept developer who also teaches high school science and math.
Crawley and Owens first collaborated on a sculpture for American Pianists Association in 2013. The piece, The Dunning Kruger Effect, was made from parts of a piano. The sculpture housed an internal speaker that plays a sound art composition performed on the harp of the deconstructed piano.
Prior to the exhibition, the Arts Council visited Owens and Crawley’s workspace at Harrison Center for the Arts and spoke with them about their installation at Gallery 924.
To start off, can you tell us about your creative process and how it involves the physics of light and sound?
“Physics is everywhere.”
Owens and Crawley say that they try to “authentically” integrate science into their art–Crawley holds an MA in Physics, so he is familiar with the science behind light and sound. Their interest in science lends itself to the exploration of how lighting affects color, as seen in their use of alternating colored lights and gels in the public art installation Prime Commonality.
The Concept is Key
The concept and outcome for each piece is their starting block, but through experimentation, they have “a lot of happy accidents.” In other words, the artists start out each endeavor by coming up with checklists of things they want to do and see happen in the artwork, so they do not necessarily start with a visual idea and then build sound around it, or vice versa. The artists say a lot of their process is experimental and driven by their interest in exploring materials. Throughout the creation phase, they bounce ideas off of each other and offer suggestions, like any other creative team.
Can you explain the concept for your exhibition at Gallery 924?
The artists did not want the art to “die” while the lights were off.
Owens and Crawley were excited by Gallery 924’s location in the heart of downtown and street level access. Their initial idea was to create an exhibition where the “art wouldn’t turn off.” They wanted to create a “fishbowl” of 24-7 activity that invites the public to interact and enjoy the work, even when Gallery 924 was closed.
The artists wanted to reach a new audience that “doesn’t really get much art.”
Owens said that while working on a sculpture for ArtPrize, he came to realize there was a large group of people who live in the downtown area that walk by closed studios and galleries every night. He became aware that this “whole genre of people of less socioeconomic prosperity” is an “audiences that doesn’t really get much art.” Out of this realization came the desire to engage a new audience and the idea that a public space, like Gallery 924, could be set up to stay open and accessible at all hours of the day to anyone walking by on the sidewalk.
“We’re still working on smell sculptures.”
Crawley is excited to create a complete environment of light and sound. Owens says that for this installation, they’ve created a family of artworks, including a 5′ x 18′ “painting with no paint” with which they hope the viewers physically interact. The only thing that might be missing from this sensory experience, Owens laughs, “is smell sculptures.”
What is the significance of the exhibition’s title, “Everything is Sacred, Nothing is Sacred” and Other Modern Allegories?
“Art can be sacred totally all the time or not at all.”
The exhibition’s title is somewhat autobiographical as it relates to both the team members and their complementary nature. The title also reflects their idea that the definition of sacred is fluid. With this installation, they are illustrating this belief with references to water. Owens says that they have written a story about a fictitious society who once treated water as charished and sacred, but now the society views the precious resource as something to bottle and sell or carelessly contaminate…”not that WE would do anything crazy like that.”
They have also been inspired by narratives from mythologies, such as the Greek story of Narcissus. People who see the exhibition are clued in by hints and references in the titles of each piece, but the stories told by each piece are still up to each viewer’s interpretation.
Can you think of any challenges that come with doing public installations? What have you learned along the way?
The artists have created public installations or presented their work in several cities across the country including:
- Prime Commonality in Newport Beach, Grand Rapids, Atlanta, and also at White River State Park
- Chrysalis 1 & 2 in Bryan, TX
- Commune in West Lafayette, IN
“Everything is just practice.”
Owens says that traveling their work has led to some bumps in the road, but no amount of academic training or preparation can prevent some things from happening. Crawley reflects on a particularly difficult outdoor installation. Both artists think “there’s a lesson to be learned in all of it” and that they’ve done “pretty well in not repeating the same mistakes.”
For More Information:
To get updates and new posts for this show follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @artscouncilindy or like us on Facebook/Gallery924. Also follow #Gallery924 for all current and upcoming exhibition information.
Gallery 924 is open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. Thursdays from 9 am – 6 pm.