Ingleby | Jonathan Owen, May, 2021

Jonathan Owen is best known for his interventions into ‘found’ antique sculptures, a process of re-carving and reinventing defunct marble statuary in an attempt - as he puts it - “to subvert and puncture this familiar rhetoric, and so to reactivate the object through transformation rather than destruction, to make a new proposition.


It offers a way of working that seems especially relevant on the present moment, as the conversation around public monuments is so vigorously re-considered and re-phrased to question ideas of permanence and power – attributes so often associated with the original sculptures that are his favoured raw material.


Jonathan Owen's 2021 exhibition at Ingleby includes dramatically re-worked busts of once powerful men, but at its centre is unveilled a major new sculpture based on a life-size, allegorical figure of Navigation, a figure that formerly stood proud as symbol of empire and exploration - sextant and rudder at the ready – reduced now to a pile of interlinking chains snaking off its plinth.