Ruth Owens graduated in 2018 with an MFA from the University of New Orleans after leaving her medical practice of 25 years. She resides in New Orleans where she is represented by the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery , and belongs to the artist collective, “The Front.” Owens’ work is concerned with contributing to and preserving the black archive, and she references personal super-8 film in her painting and video art.


Artist residencies include the Joan Mitchell Center, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Vermont Studio Center, the Studios at MASS MoCA, and the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society, and 21c Museum.

artist statement 

I’m a figurative painter and video artist whose work expands the narrative around feminine and racial identity. Putting forth the concept that identity is fluid and open, my subjects cross boundaries that hold in fixed and static constructs. Revealing the complexity, nuances, and psychology  of individual people of color, I resist essential or stereotypical limits. I use myself and the intimacy of my family as models to assert the individualities, challenges, and unique perspectives of lives that are atypical by virtue of the standards and narrow vision prevalent in the world. 

Much of the imagery in my paintings and videos is culled from footage found in my family’s super-8 film archive from the 1960’s and 1970’s, therefore imparting an intimate, gestural, and cinematic impression. The influence of this archive also makes my work a psychological exploration of personal memory with regards to family dynamics and relationships.