Enriching the Arts

Featured Artist: Seka Owen, BFA, RCA, ASA


Seka Owen, Rhapsody of Vision


Seka Owen’s  love  of  life  and  infectious  joy  belie  her  age.  She immigrated to Canada as a political refugee in the 1950s, escaping with her life from a perilous situation in her native Croatia. Her educational background was in science, “My family would not allow me to study art. I chose microbiology because of my fascination with the invisible world. The incredible blends of colour that I saw under the microscope inspired me to become a painter.”

She returned to study art at the University of Alberta as a mature student in the 1970s. Edmonton at the time was a thriving hub for abstraction, nurturing Owen’s growing love of the genre. She mingled with artists and critics, immersing herself totally in the world of abstraction. Her work was noticed by American critic Clement Greenberg. During a yearlong sojourn in New York, Owen met the key players in the American art scene. Now in her eighties, Owen is unstoppable. She is vigorously and enthusiastically painting every day. “Painting is a passionate need for me. It is not a choice or a substitute for something else. It is something that I have to do. It is my obsession.”


Seka Owen, Tangible Expansion of Space

Seka Owen’s work is celebratory, expressing her joie de vivre in lavish colours, surging upward thrusts, ebbs and flows, dynamic contrasts or soft rhapsodies of subtle colour harmonies. Her art represents the very core of Owen’s being: “I paint because it is my life.” Intrinsic to her art is her acute sense of vitality and her well-honed sensitivity to the natural world which is the stimulus, albeit distilled, of many of her abstractions. She can develop a large-scale painting based on a fleeting memory, or something seen or an emotion experienced in nature.



Seka Owen, Softly Grey Series 2

Q &A with the ASA

ASA: Can you tell us about your influences?

Seka: When I went to the University of Alberta, I was highly influenced by my professors – Doug Haynes, Graham Peacock, Linda Osberg. Historically, I am influenced by Paul Klee for his inventiveness and use of color, as well as Kandinsky for his use of color and spirituality and Picasso for his freedom.

ASA: What would you consider to be your most successful body of work to date?

Seka: Painting is a process to me – I am not painting for an end product or for exhibitions- my work is ongoing and inspires the next piece. The time I spent in New York was important for me – I produced alot of work then and grew from that time.

ASA and TREX Address

Crossroads Art Centre
#302 - 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012
TREX Phone: (403) 262-4669

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