Reference Entry

Onwin, Glen

Francis Summers

in Oxford Art Online


Published online April 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T097604

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  • Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Assemblage, and Collage
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(b Edinburgh, 1947).

Scottish painter and installation artist. Onwin studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1966 to 1971. As a result of encountering a salt marsh whilst walking in Dunbar during 1975, Onwin became interested in self-regulating natural processes, material recycling and reciprocity between the worlds of spirit and matter. This led to a series of very large and environmentally charged paintings such as Subterrean Fire (1984; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 21) and Weldsterben, Forest Death (1986; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 49). Many of his paintings make direct reference to pollution and the misuse of the planet’s resources, demonstrating an interest in alchemy and transformation also present in the work of Anselm Kiefer. Onwin’s use of raw natural products such as sulphur, wax and earth in his paintings evolved into his multi-sectioned installation As Above, So Below (1991; see 1991 exh. cat.) in the abandoned Square Chapel in Halifax. This piece included several large floor-based sculptures using brine, bitumen and wax, producing an architectural intervention that is similar to the work of Richard Wilson (ii). Later works include process based paintings such as ...

Reference Entry.  312 words. 

Subjects: Installation Art, Mixed-Media, Assemblage, and Collage ; Painting ; 20th-Century Art ; Contemporary Art

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