Jared Owens is an multidisciplinary artist whose practice focuses on bringing awareness to the plight of nearly 2.5 million people enmeshed in the American carceral state. He is self taught during more than 18 years of incarceration, working in painting, sculpture, and installation, using materials and references culled from penal matter.
Owens’ current and recent exhibitions include “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” at MoMA PS1 in New York (2021); “Rendering Justice” at the African American Museum of Art in Philadelphia (2021); “The O.G. Experience” in partnership with HBO and SOZE in Chelsea, NYC (2019); “Made in America: Unfree Labor in the Age of Mass Incarceration” at Hampshire College, Amhurst, NH; “Black Bone: Affrilachian Poets and Visual Artists” at Morlan Gallery, Transylvania University, Lexington, KY (both 2017). In 2020 he received a Right of Return Fellowship from SOZE Agency and in 2019 a Restorative Justice grant from Philadelphia Mural Arts to create a mural with teenagers under court supervision; in 2016-17 he was the recipient of a grant from the Eastern State Penitentiary to produce “Sepulture,” a large-scale installation. He is a 2021-22 Fellow at Silver Arts Projects.
He has presented a number of talks and workshops, including “Marking Time: Prison Arts and Activism” conference at Rutgers in New Brunswick, NJ, in 2014; “State Goods: Art in the Era of Mass Incarceration (with an installation) at Andrew Feldman House in the Bronx (2017); and at “Prison Art and Prison Reform” at Eastern State Penitentiary (2017). He has run numerous workshops including being the program designer and lead instructor for the one-week intensive “The Artist’s Eye” at the Lyric Theater in Lexington, KY. (2016).