…The artist’s concern with rearranging, juxtaposing and displaying is also present in her most recent installation for Cuchifritos gallery space, entitled Shelf Life. The project came out of close observation of Lower East Side neighborhood and its continuous transformations, as well as respective functions, appearances and usual daily operations of the market and the gallery- the distinctions, similarities, overlaps and interactions of the two social environments. Owen focuses on the features of Essex Street Market architecture, and comparisons of the space of the market and the space of the gallery within the market- their formal qualities and spatial patterns. She combines shelves, frames and pedestals previously used for art work displays with the objects and materials gathered from local vendors- various produce, packaging and containers. The artist became particularly focused on stalls and merchandise piles which surround the gallery, the aesthetic decisions and practical concerns of the vendors who create their own “exhibits” on a daily basis. Rather than the exact replica of one of the Essex Street Market stands, the installation seems like a half-finished store, simultaneously emerging from the context of the market and melting back into it. Owen’s exhibition delves into how content and function of both gallery and market displays reflect the neighborhood’s identity and the needs of its various, ever-changing communities, and the coexistence of the historical and the new.
excerpt from exhibition essay, Zeljka Himbele Kozul, January 2012