Chalk Lines Curated by Barbara Takenaga
Oc tober 24 â€“ December 11, 2019
All artwork ÂŠ Mo Kong unless otherwise noted. Catalogue design by Shona Masarin-Hurst. 1
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Theodore S. Berger Vernon Church Marcy Cohen Blake Horn
Thomas K.Y. Hsu
Beatrice Wolert-Weese Deputy Director
Lilly Hern-Fondation Programs Manager
John S. Kiely
Christen Martosella Aliza Nisenbaum Kyle Sheahen Lilly Wei
Gregory Amenoff, Emeritus
Development Manager Programs Associate
Polly Apfelbaum Lynn Crawford Ian Cooper
Michelle Grabner Eleanor Heartney
Trenton Doyle Hancock Pablo Helguera Paddy Johnson Deborah Kass
Sharon Lockhart Juan Sรกnchez Lilly Wei
Irving Sandler (in memoriam)
CUE Art Foundation is a visual arts center dedicated to creating essential career and educational opportunities for artists of all ages. Through exhibitions, arts education, and public programs, CUE provides artists, writers, and audiences with sustaining, meaningful experiences and resources. CUEâ€™s exhibition program aims to present new and exceptionally strong work by under-recognized and emerging artists based in the United States, and is committed to exhibiting work of all disciplines from living artists. Exhibiting artists are selected via a hybrid process, featuring solo exhibitions curated by established artists, alongside a series of solo and group exhibitions selected by an annual Open Call. In line with CUEâ€™s commitment to providing substantive professional development opportunities, curators and Open Call panelists also serve as mentors to the exhibiting artists, providing support throughout the process of developing their exhibition. We are honored to work with artist Barbara Takenaga as the curator of this exhibition.
Chalk Lines Sarah Amos
These large-scale stitched works of organic forms or abstract figures are used as a platform for aesthetic play, symbolic commentary, and charade. I have developed a personal vocabulary that explores ceremony and tradition, both real and imagined.
passage of time. After working on the large felts, I realized that the thread had replaced the drawing material and the felt had replaced the paper. A new direction that I had always sought was amassing in front of me.
I am a non-conventional artist printmaker; I am constantly seeking to challenge and upend traditional stereotypes of what a print should and could be both in the physical and intellectual sense. I have always loved paper for its organic feel, luminous character, and rich history, but have become intrigued with non-traditional surfaces for printmaking such as canvas, linen, and hessian. I finally chose felt because of its inherent richness, tactility, and intimacy. I had been searching for an aesthetic that could slow down the mind and hand, making works that were considered and deeply layered.
My current work is an amalgamation of contemporary and historical stitching on acrylic felt with collagraph printmaking. Collagraphy is an intaglio inspired process whereby textured materials and incised marks are inked and printed. This technique acts as a platform on which the rest of the drawing can be built. I employ a free-form stitching approach that focuses on both linear and organic patterns using blends of bamboo thread and subtle color shifts to create an optical feast and three-dimensional finish. Thread is stabbed, dotted, dashed, and dimpled across the printed surfaces, while in some, appliquĂŠ prints are stitched directly onto the surface to act as another spatial extension.
I wanted to use the thread like a web sending out information while connecting both the print below and the drawing above. It is now important to me to make one image at a time that reflects not only the attention to detail and materiality, but a sense of labor and the 4
Pattern is germane to this body of work as it generates movement around the works and satiates my love of repetition, historical stitching, and visual buoyancy.
Often, I find my direction within the pathways of pattern, while at other times I take the stitch off-road. Ornament and decoration are embraced in my work, following a familiar path from Persian carpets and Islamic tiles to the Gee's Bend quilt makers of Alabama.
exhibition schedule of her own despite her intense commitment to teaching and collaborating with professional artists. She also teaches from her home studio year-round and has been an alternate adjunct professor at Williams College, Bennington College, and Dartmouth College since 2001.
The inspirations that inform this current body of work include Japanese Kabuki Theater, Sashiko stitching, and Hokusaiâ€™s ghost prints, as well as Haitian and African masquerade, Bulgarian pagan rituals, and historical English portraiture.
Amos has completed artist residencies at the Santa Fe Arts Institute, New Mexico; the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, County Mayo, Ireland; and the Stichting Kaus Australis Residency Program, Rotterdam, Holland. Her work is in the collections of Time Warner, New York, NY; Alliance Capitol, New York, NY; the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; DartmouthHitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH; the Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT; the Tweed Museum, Duluth, MN; and the Prudential Insurance Company, Boston, MA. In 2014, Amos was awarded the Joan Mitchell Independent Artist Grant for Painting.
Sarah Amos has been making large multi-media collagraph prints for over two decades. Originally from Australia, Amos came to the US to study lithography at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she became a Master Printer. She originally obtained her BFA in Printmaking in Australia and has an MFA from the University of Northern Vermont. Amos works and lives both in Vermont and Australia while maintaining an active international and national
Portrait of Sarah Amos by Sam Simon
Barbara Takenaga Curator-Mentor
Sarah Amos is an exceptional artist. I love that she loves printmaking, that she uses it front and center as the basis for her one of a kind hybrid textiles, that she specifically defines herself as an artist printmaker. A respected Tamarind Master Printer in her early career, Sarah takes on many of the challenges and traditions of intaglio methods, collagraphs in particular. Pushing past the conventions of small scale, the beauty of paper, the flatness of surface, even the multiplicity of editions, she maintains the intimacy of that medium by embracing the labor, graphic qualities, and primacy of layered working. Large scale with a strong presence and tactility, these recent images also have a wonderful sense of humor that is integral to the reading. They can be alternately comic yet elegant, familiar yet alien — the strangeness evoking a kind of ominous beauty. With a visual vocabulary that is clearly personal and contemporary, Sarah’s work is also surrounded by shadows of other histories, images that we almost recognize or could almost name. Inferences are made but remain resonantly elusive. A mask, a figure, a
culture, a style. And of course, women’s work, sewing and enhancing, Pattern and Decoration. It’s all there, mediated through ink, felt, and thread, and shaped by her own unique process. Barbara Takenaga is an abstract painter who lives and works in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at a variety of institutions including MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Space/42 of the Neuberger Museum, New York, NY; the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE; and a 20-year survey at the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA, in 2017, curated by Debra Balken and accompanied by a book published by DelMonico|Prestel. Her work is included in the collections of the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia, PA; the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA; and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA, among others. She is represented by DC Moore Gallery in NYC, Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco, Robischon Gallery in Denver, and her prints are published by Shark's Ink and Wingate Studio.
The Narrows, 2014 Collagraph and thread on felt 66 x 78 inches
Middlepoint, 2014 Collagraph and thread on felt 66 x 78 inches
Double Dutch, 2019 Collagraph and thread on felt 84 x 66 inches
Blue Isabelle, 2018 Collagraph and thread on felt 84 x 66 inches
The Arrival, 2019 Collagraph and thread on felt 84 x 66 inches
I Stop, I Look, 2017 Collagraph and thread on felt 84 x 66 inches
Black Tausi, 2016 Collagraph and thread on felt 66 x 78 inches
Ivory Orchid, 2019 Collagraph and thread on felt 66 x 78 inches
Lift-Off, 2019 Collagraph and thread on felt 66 x 78 inches
Tracing Intuitions Sumru Tekin
“To be at home in this place means to be comfortable with unsynthesized intuitions: with unfamiliar things and happenings and states and presences that confound and silence the mind and decompose the ego...This is the state of vigilant alertness that maximizes receptivity to whatever the real strange thing has to offer.” – Adrian Piper1
memory are present, evidenced by the labor of her hand stitching and the receding and advancing areas of fabric and ink, suggesting architectural spaces to be entered by a viewer encountering the pieces — human scale at 78 x 64 inches each. Abstracted organic forms, figures in groups or in isolation, appear and disappear, on the verge of moving out and off the picture plane.
The invented landscapes of Sarah Amos’s large-scale collagraph constructions on felt and canvas recall archaeological sites where the uncanny presence of disparate objects evokes the co-existence of multiple histories and activities. Amos describes the material and compositional makeup of the work as “layers [that] jostle over the surface, to find each other,” a palimpsest, irreducible to a single image, surface, or history.2
Luminous black, gray, and blue inks combined with lush felt fabric belie Amos’s physically demanding technique of digging, scraping, and cutting into the cardboard surface using acrylic modeling paste and carborundum to create the multiple matrices for her collagraph prints. Collagraph prints often start with the application of a variety of textures and marks to a planographic surface of either cardboard or acrylic that will be hand-inked and printed from paper, fabric, and other materials.
Accumulated materials, images, and processes are fields of nearly endless possibility, over which the artist navigates her intuitions and preoccupations. Time and
The gaps, disparities, and overlaps produced by the various materials and their treatment become
Doves Eye, 2019 Collagraph and thread on felt 84 x 66 inches
interruptions, openings created by exclusions and concealment. They provide beginnings for new narratives that will inevitably produce further gaps. Traces of each successive mark reveal multiple images and surfaces merging and separating within the individual pieces. As viewers, we are engaged in constructing meaning from the process of making and experiencing these works. The pieces take time — time to make and time to experience. Amos’s fine arts training in the late 1980’s in Melbourne, Australia, emphasized Eastern and Southeast Asian influences rather than Western European, looking towards Japanese, Indonesian, and Malaysian traditions in relief and woodblock printing. Introduced to ukiyo-e wood cut prints as an undergraduate, she gravitated to the works of Japanese artists. Among them, Utagawa Hiroshige’s (1797–1858) Hakone Pass from his 53 Stations of the Tokaido Pass series fascinated her. In 2007, Amos created a series of 25 large-scale collagraphs on paper referencing her own crossing from Australia to America 28 years earlier. Shortly after completing that series, in a moment of improbable coincidence, Amos came across a folder in her grandfather’s studio with an original Hiroshige — the Hakone Pass.
Objects such as the Hiroshige print can function as the physical manifestations of memories, repositories for our desires, and, however inadequate, stand-ins for the real thing. Orchestrating conversations, both imagined and real, based upon her family’s histories and artistic legacies and her training and development as a master printmaker, Amos’s compositions resonate with affinities past and present. Among the many seductions of collagraph printing is the freedom to effectively produce, very quickly and with little editing, image after image from the press. While the ideas and materials generated in this way are an integral part of Amos’s practice, she also finds value in what is labored over. Hand stitching, featured prominently in this current work, provides a welcome opportunity for the artist to negotiate the rhythms of thought and practice over the course of working on a single piece that can take months to finish. Today Amos regards the physical act of printing itself as one part of how she creates an image. The process functions as a “source of information,” whether as an understated or highly visible presence in the work. The artist’s training in lithography at the Tamarind Institute continues to inform her work conceptually.
39 Shillings, 2014 Collagraph and thread on felt 73 x 65 inches
Subtly layering ink and pattern to both hide and reveal an image at once, Amos can “pull apart an image to see three dimensionally what the piece would look like over seven different surfaces,” she says. Inhabiting one perspective while visualizing the possibility for many, Amos cultivates a curiosity about what comes next. Working in opposition to the traditions of printmaking and notions of the vernacular, she pushes against fixed identities, gently rejecting the notion of a singular influence. A wide range of interests contribute to Amos’s expanding vocabulary of images informing her present production, including English portraiture, Japanese Kabuki theater, and manga illustrations. And yet, Amos’s work extends beyond cultural specificity, as the materials and visual elements carry open-ended meanings and associations. Amos uses these collected inventions to reconfigure any preconceived readings, setting them in new directions. The product of constant experiment, Amos’s current preoccupation in the studio incorporates canvas and paint, as she imagines translating her ability to visualize three dimensions from a two-dimensional piece into sculptural objects, moving further away
from conventional printing surfaces. Defining her approach in the studio as “trans-media,” Amos blurs distinctions between printmaking, painting, and sculpture. Much like her existence as an international artist, she operates between “here and there”: “The work, I guess, becomes my country, my culture, and my identity — a place where I can wander freely, explore horizons, and create a personal language that resonates to me.” Histories and cultures comprise interwoven elements with continuous breaks and disturbances. Our lives are measured in moments at once unique and universal: daily accretions of ordinary activities punctuated by the disruptions of love and loss. Amos has chosen a visual language that holds the potential to reflect these simultaneities.
Adrian Piper, “The Real Thing Strange,” in Adrian Piper: A
Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965 – 2016, (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2018). 2
All quotations by Sarah Amos are from an interview conducted in
the artist’s studio, June 23, 2019.
This essay was written as part of the Art Critic Mentoring Program, a partnership between AICA-USA (US section of International Association of Art Critics) and CUE, which pairs emerging writers with AICA-USA mentors to produce original essays on a specific exhibiting artist. Please visit aicausa.org for more information on AICA-USA, or cueartfoundation.org to learn how to participate in this program. Any quotes are from interviews with the author unless otherwise specified. No part of this essay may be reproduced without prior consent from the author. Lilly Wei is AICA’s Coordinator for the program this season. Sumru Tekin works within and through a range of media and collaborations, including writing about and presenting the work of other artists. With artists Kate Donnelly and Thatiana Oliveira, she is co-founder of Snake House VT and Single Channel VT – collaborative platforms for the exchange of ideas through exhibitions, screenings, performance, and artistic research. Tekin received her MFA in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA in Art History from the University of Vermont. She has participated in residencies at Marble House Project and the MacDowell Colony. Her grants include the Barbara Smail Award, a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts, and an Arts Endowment Fund Grant from the Vermont Community Foundation. Her artist book Memory Device is in the permanent collection of the Iraq National Library. Mentor Charles Desmarais, appointed art critic at the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015, received the 2017 Rabkin Prize for Visual Arts Journalism. He was awarded an Art Critic’s Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979. The years between, he spent as an avid lover of art, friend of artists, and leader of arts institutions. Desmarais has served as President of the San Francisco Art Institute (2011-2016) and Deputy Director for Art at the Brooklyn Museum (2004-2011). He was Director at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (1995-2004); the Laguna Art Museum (1988-1994); and the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside (1981-1988). His extensive experience as an art writer includes numerous exhibition catalogues as well as work for Afterimage, American Art, Art in America, ARTnews, California, Grand Street, and elsewhere. He authored a regular column, “On Art,” for the Riverside Press-Enterprise from 1987 to 1988.
CUE Art Foundation's programs are made possible with the generous support of foundations, government agencies, corporations, and individuals.
MAJOR PROGRAMMATIC SUPPORT PROVIDED BY Anholt Services (USA), Inc. Aon PLC Chubb Compass Group Management LLC The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation Vedder Price P.C. New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts
All artwork ÂŠ Sarah Amos. Photography by Sam Simon and Sarah Amos. Art direction and design by Shona Masarin-Hurst. Additional design by Lilly Hern-Fondation.
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