Dr. Rachel Owen: 1968-2016

Partner of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Was Accomplished Printmaker

Visual Arts News
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Dr. Rachel Owen: 1968-2016

Dr. Rachel Owen, internationally renowned artist, professor of Italian, and longtime partner of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, died on Sunday. She was 48 years old.


Owen began dating Yorke while both were studying at Exeter University; she went on to Royal Holloway, London, where she completed a PhD on the illustrations of the early manuscripts of Dante’s Commedia. In 2015, the couple released a statement confirming their separation; it was the demise of their 23-year relationship that inspired “Radiohead”’s latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool. (We named it one of the 50 Best Albums in 2016.)


Dr. Owen participated in numerous exhibitions in the UK and internationally, and described her more recent work as comprising of “photographic screen prints exploring the idea of transformation, both natural and supernatural.”

In recent years, her works were shown at leading UK galleries including Ballon Rouge Art in Thame Oxfordshire. She was also a member of the Oxford Printmakers Co-operative.


In 2012, Dr. Owen spoke about her work (translated from Italian):

“At first my works had more use of color, then I realized that by limiting my palette to white and black, I felt freer.

Someone told me that my creations look like the frames of a film, and I like the idea that the observer can use them to create your own, a story in itself, perhaps using them as a starting point for a project staff. For this, the images I create are not too defined and fixed.

I like the idea of transformation, an image that seems to change depending on how you look, how the light changes or how you feel at that moment.”

Screen prints by Dr. Rachel Owen.
Images courtesy of Ballon Rouge Art and La Reppublica

Emily Ray is Paste’s Visual Arts Editor.