Owen Martucci Bio

Owen Martucci

Hi my name is Kevin Owen Wengler, aka Owen Martucci.

Owen is my middle name and Martucci is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name which I have combined with Owen to brand who I am and what I do. My grandmother was an excellent painter and she embodied art and creativity in her everyday life; especially in the kitchen. I honor the creative spirit of my ancestor through the name Owen Martucci. 

Over the past 30 years, my art has evolved from the figurative to the abstract in simple terms, but my methods have changed mostly because of location, influences and some formal introduction to new mediums.

My style and interests in art have evolved over the years; from figurative to abstract and now a hybrid of both. Abstraction eventually came with hallucinogenic and entheogenic experimentation in 1994 which helped me to create new worlds via my imagination. Before that, my interest in art mostly came from popular examples of impressionism and surrealism but, I soon started to see how self-expression and abstraction allow for, perhaps, a deeper fulfillment with shapes, design and possible worlds.

For the next 8 years I mostly worked in sketchbooks because I was always on the move. I served to the US Army for five years which took me to Germany, Bosnia and Kuwait to name a few. The last two mentioned were places, while deployed, where I dove into these sketchbooks as a way to ground myself and enjoy my imagination for sure. 

By 2002, I was incorporating my memory of leaf and plant cell cross sections from an intro to botany course in my drawings and designs. We are not always conscious of the change in morphology- visually-from the larger complex structure of an entire plant viewed at any angle as compared to the microscopic view of a cell in one of its leaves. They are part of the same thing, but vastly different in complexity and size. Curiously, I perhaps could find the shape of an animal in the cross section of a plant cell. Something seemingly abstract becomes figurative in my imagination.

Hence the morphology of shapes that inspire art, says more about where we get our inspiration from than how we made it. I don’t think humans are so creative more than we are really good at ripping off Nature. I would even go so far as to say that our understanding of language is more inspired by the abstract appearance of animal noises then our own concrete and logically constructed utterances, syllables and words. 

I finally graduated to a type of abstract art that is informed by things I see in nature but, from time to time I do conceive of ideas that seem as if they came from the ether of human consciousness. Notwithstanding, my works are instructed by my desire to build off of past experience and evolve. Life and Art are iterative. 

I do not work off the backs of notable influences with my choice of subject matter. Living up to Ram Das’s mantram  Be Here Now, I’ll take whatever life gives me in the moment- when I’m not focused on a series or project. I have a need to always break away from tangible things and search for something that doesn’t need an immediate explanation.

When I traverse from painting to stone carving, one could be informing the other, but with my stone works, I’m more interested in what the stone has to tell me, then how I want to shape it into a preconceived design. Depending on how the stone was found, I look for part of what is already available in the shape so that I can work with the stone instead of looking for the right stone. Maybe I just haven’t developed with stone sculpture as much because of a lack of resources and purpose. With abstract painting, I usually work in layers, one color at a time, with the last combination of layers speaking to the next layer, like a communication that is very morphological such that, I do very little planning in some cases. In 2005, I completed a series of large abstract paintings called Medium Orbs in Peru that used no specific reference or preliminary drawings. They started via stream of consciousness one might say. Today, my art has developed into a combination of abstract and figurative paintings that require more planning, patience and vision. 

Lastly, I’m interested in deconstructing anthropocentric thinking in my spare time. Something inspired by reading The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram. It is hard for humans to not see themselves in animals and plants. Humans got their knowledge from the sentient world which informed their behavior but now they grapple with their fear of nature and how they succumb to it, instead of learning to appreciate the complex interactions of plants and animals that they seem to have lost via modernity. My goal is to return to nature and live inside of it via sustainable living, as opposed to living in the trapped and empty morphology of rectangles and triangles in modern architecture. I believe my highest purpose as an artist will be to make livable structures that are pieces of art by themselves, created by hand in a not so predictable way, using the earth and recycled materials; perhaps a nod to Nader Khalili and his domed organic shapes.

Owen Martucci

Ashland- Oregon