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Sarah Amos: Chalk Lines

CUE Art Foundation is pleased to present Chalk Lines, a solo exhibition by Sarah Amos, curated by Barbara Takenaga. Amos, a Tamarind Master Printer, works with large-scale collagraph prints on felt, built up in layers and adorned with hand-stitching and appliqué. In this new body of work, each print holds a world of dynamic textures, patterns, and abstract marks that are simultaneously familiar and imagined, conjuring tactile environments constructed from the assembled surfaces and images.

Collagraphy is an intaglio inspired practice in which the printmaker incises, abrades, and applies various textural substances to a flat surface. These collages and lines are then hand inked and printed onto another surface, traditionally paper. The techniques employed by Amos during this process are intimately physical; the artist cuts and scratches into cardboard that she uses to apply ink to felt, which she then adorns with free-form stitching. Although she is engaging with the vocabulary of printmaking, Amos strays from its traditions with her use of felt and thread. Sewing with thread by hand breaks the surface of the print and disrupts the conventions of the medium. It also increases the time and labor required to complete each work and evokes associations with historically gendered craft making and the Pattern and Decoration movement. This process results in images that are not only striking for their visual depth, but also for the ways in which their surfaces rise and fall with the accumulation of material, each woven into the next with wandering trails of thread.

Amos’ methods also facilitate play, repetition, and the manipulation of images. By transferring and overlaying these images, the surface becomes a tool for fragmenting or masking the otherworldly figures depicted. Many of the works have been printed on pitch black backgrounds, suggesting that their scenes might take place on a moonless night or in outer space, enveloping the viewer in a blanket of darkness. Sumru Tekin writes, “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…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.”
Relevant research areas: North America, Australia, Contemporary, Collograph

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