Urgent Museum Notice

The Sun

Close up of The Sun

An open, accordion-style book with red-pink pages and black text. The word

Jan Owen, The Sun, 1995; Gouache, paper, 22 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Jan Owen; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

The Sun
Jan Owen

Jan Owen is known for her exquisite calligraphic rendition of poetry. Her unique books are best displayed hanging on a wall. They include poems that she selects, which often contain deep messages relevant to today’s world.

For her work The Sun, Owen included an excerpt from William Blake’s poem “Night,” which imagines a world where a lion can lie down with a lamb. The work evokes wishful thinking for a better future. Owen wrote on patterned paste paper and illustrated the poem with gestural painting. She also wove in gold painted paper to suggest the setting sun.

Owen, a former bass player for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, also includes references to music in her books. The Sun includes phrases from Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. Owen’s work contains a mother’s lament over the body of her son, and an invocation in Latin, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, in your justice hear me.”

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Jan Owen
  • Title

    The Sun
  • Date

    1995
  • Medium

    Gouache, Paste-decorated paper, Woven paper
  • Dimensions

    22 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of the artist
  • Photo Credit

    Lee Stalsworth
  • On Display

    No