Kim Cadmus Owens grew up in Dallas, moved away to study fine arts on East and West Coasts, and returned to Texas in 2006. Upon her arrival, Owens faced a city evolved. Her work creates a heightened awareness for the anchors of Dallas neighborhoods, those that remain and those that have been lost. The views and subsequent overlay of line work and visual extensions evoke a quick moment of passing, as if glimpsed from a car on the way to a destination. The pieces convey that moment of retrospect when complex overlapping—to the point that a person’s perception becomes transfixed on the subject itself—heightens the awareness.
Owens’ Lost and Found series—a suite of letterpress prints—recollects nine staple pieces of Dallas architecture, examining absence and presence in each. Her depiction of the Statler Hilton, having long been classified as an endangered project in the State of Texas, remains largely intact aesthetically. The former Dallas High School, on the other hand, calls attention to the boarded up windows of the exterior against a shell wiped clean internally of any remaining original architectural features. Though the line work blurs the distinction between true details, the mere act of focusing inward on the prints paints the picture of the reality and memory of each delineated building.
Owens’ work evinces her passions for mechanism and context. Her art is intertwined with her studio, a cinderblock box at the edge of Oak Cliff, a neighborhood increasingly succumbing to gentrification and denser development. Simple structures of a coop, shed, and various explorations in mechanics splay deliberately across the front approach.
Her advocacy for the fabric of Oak Cliff is as deliberate, taking ownership of neighborhood symbols threatened by redevelopment. The Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts sign, one of the remaining vestiges of the once iconic roadside inn, remains a passion after it was removed two years ago. Though the fate of the sign is uncertain, her picture of the Alamo Courts keeps awareness of the lost landmark alive. The print, now located in the base of 2100 Ross—a 33-story postmodern skyscraper in downtown—seems ironic considering the largest tenant is a global developer.
The life Owens leads through her passions and explorations of various scales and mediums seems utterly seamless. Her body of work could best be symbolized in a tag she wears around her wrist with the simple quote of “No Expectations.”