From our friends at Guernica, today we bring you an interview with artist Sarah Crowner. Author Elizabeth Karp-Evans and Crowner discuss her show at MASS MoCA (open through February 2017), her art-historical influences, craft, and constructivism. Crowner states, “I think that art history can be a medium that can be manipulated in the same way that a material, like paint or clay, can be.” This article was originally published May 16, 2016.
Visual artist Sarah Crowner’s work has been described as many things: lyrical, hard-edge painting, primary abstraction, non-painterly. Curator Gary Carrion-Murayari coined it “Personal Modernism.” She has been declared a painter, a sculptor, and an installation artist during her career, but none of these terms feel comprehensive enough, nor do they do the artist, or her work, justice. Standing in front of Crowner’s abstract sewn paintings or her large-scale tile installations, one is filled with a sense of modernism’s profound influence on her work as well as with her deft ability to harness the energies of the natural world.
This spring, Crowner’s work will appear in two major shows; Beetle in the Leaves, which runs from April 16 through February 2017 at MASS MoCA (Crower’s first museum show in the U.S.) and Plastic Memory, which opened May 13th at Simon Lee gallery in London. Both exhibitions feature the artist’s sewn paintings—cut-up pieces of raw and painted canvas, reconfigured and re-stitched to form a new surface—as well as new tile works, installed both on the floor and hanging from the walls.