Professor Owen was a student at Portsmouth College of Art, a Mombusho Scholar at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and a research fellow at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic. He is currently professor of visual arts at Southampton Solent University, where he is director of the Centre for Research and Enterprise in Art, Design and Media (creadm.solent.ac.uk) and the Centre for Research in the School of Media Arts and Technology.
His postgraduate studies concerned the relationship between metaphysics and perspective in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico. Artefacts and texts from this research were exhibited and published by the Museum of Modern Art, Pompidou Centre, Paris in 1983, 'Giorgio de Chirico et la Perspective Metaphysique', in 'Cahier Du Musee National D’Art Moderne'.Paris No.11. (33-53), English version 'The Spirits Released . - De Chirico and metaphysical-perspective' , in Art & Design, 'Italian Art Now', Academy Editions, volume 5. No1/2, (6-17).
In 1988 he was asked to give the De Chirico centenary lecture at the Tate Gallery, London and the British School of Archaeology and Fine Art, Rome. In the early nineties Southampton City Art Gallery organised a touring exhibition of his art research work entitled 'TEMENOS', accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. This was followed by a major exhibition involving three Venice galleries in 1995. The Sigmund Freud Museum, London, exhibited his work in 1999 in an exhibition entitled 'Burial', which examined the interrelationship between art, archaeology and psychoanalysis.
The above research led to investigations into metaphysics and perspective in ancient Romano-Campanian wall-paintings discovered at Pompeii and Herculaneum, culminating in a recently published e-monograph, The False-Door: dissolution and becoming in Roman wall-painting, February 2010. creadm.solent.ac.uk/custom/rwpainting/cover/index.html
His other research interests have touched on visual-narrative, Visual Narrative Matrix , 2000, art, society and politics, 'Art in the Age of Terrorism', 2005, both of which were co-produced with Dr Graham Coulter-Smith.
He is currently engaged in new technology research relating to sonic/motion/image immersive environments.