Owen Patrick Bradley for PILOTENKUECHE

Owen Patrick Bradley: In search of the between

Entering Owen Patrick Bradley’s studio feels like entering a cocoon. It is both an introspective and transformative environment. Owen’s motivations for art making flow between self-observation and outward release. Art making becomes the vehicle through which they can sensitively approach their past and proceed forward into the future. Through Owen’s work we trace difficult conversations, navigating mental health illnesses such as PTSD and anxiety. This requires Owen to become at one with their past and travel through weighted topics when discussing their work. They approach these discussions with a carefulness, however, it remains a large part of their creative motivations to untie these, often, closed conversations. I admire how this encourages art spaces to become grounded in intimacy, building environments of acknowledgement and compassion.

Because art functions as a mode of experiencing and comprehending emotion, Owen’s work contains refreshing inconsistencies. There is an honesty to the variety of mediums they work in – drawing, craft, installation. These mediums become responsive and invested in the artist; listening to their past, whilst creating a new present and offering a new future. 

A Sky of Literary Clouds

Words- read, written or conversed- spark Owen’s methods of making. Literature has a familial connection to Owen and though we do not always see the way in which words manifest in their work, I think within their studio, you get a sense that words are present, invisible yet they may be. I reflect on how the materials that Owen is drawn to hold connections to the literary sphere. Yarn, as a material used to bind a book…the pencil, the writer’s tool. Owen speaks of how they treasure stories of abstraction; where reality is presented metaphorically…de-attached. Abstract thinking can often help us to perceive or communicate an event more clearly. In the slight de-attachment from reality, we may find a gateway.


Silky Gateways

As we flick through Owen’s sketchbook, I become encapsulated by the precise markings on the page and the kaleidoscopic palette. On each page, lies a new gateway emerging out of columns, arches and linear markings. At PILOTENKUECHE, these sketches have become involved in another venture; fabric printing. Using Photoshop, Owen manipulates the individual sketches to create larger forms of the geometric shapes which are then transferred onto fabric sheets. The gateways begin to enmesh, touching together at geometric points and colour. During our conversation, the word ‘obsessive’ keeps surfacing, aiding Owen in describing the nature of their work. Within the fabric prints, these gateway amalgamations move with an obsessive rhythm, constantly coalescing through repetition and colour. 

Unwinding through Tangling

This intense rhythm appears in the yarn work of Owen’s too, where layers of yarn tangle themselves onto structures. At PILOTENKUECHE, a yarn creation appears on the wall of Owen’s studio, frantically scribbling away the white space. Yet, within the sprawl, we come across pockets of emptiness, where the wall can finally take a breath. I think these works do well to convey the way in which art serves Owen’s character. Whilst Owen guides the yarn into intense formations, there occurs an intimate exchange of tension from the body to the material. Movements become therapeutic; a demonstration of feeling, and a release that follows. Perhaps, these moments of self-abstraction allow us to discover a new gateway.

On Separation Together

In WARM GESTALT, the first exhibition of the 49th round at PILOTENKUECHE, Owen displayed a work named On Separation Together. On the wall hung a series of interrelated objects: feathers, spotted triangles and an array of dried teabags. These objects mingle through Owen’s histories of separation anxiety. While we discuss the work, they pose to me the question, ‘does it hurt when a bird loses a feather?’, and ‘do they miss it?’. These questions feel heavy, but seem to reflect the way in which Owen approaches life- with an intense, empathetic curiosity.

Floating through metaphor to comprehend stark reality, Owen’s art making carries a peculiar weightless heaviness. The artist unveils the importance of the cocoon state- where reflections upon the past are nevertheless followed by alternate futures. 

Written by Kizzie MacNeill

Check out Owen’s work on their instagram: @o.wen.bradley

Questioning Space Accumulation

2G viewing by appointment only
Sunday 19 Dec and Monday 20 Dec
12 noon – 4PM

max 4 bookings per 30 minute time slot
max 4 people per booking


Alte Handelsschule
Giesserstr 75
04229 Leipzig