MICHELLE GRABNER + ANNE CRUMPACKER
GINGHAM | ENSŌ
December 6, 2017 – January 27, 2018
Preview Wednesday December 6, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
First Thursday opening December 7, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Gingham | Ensō places recent paintings by Wisconsin artist Michelle Grabner in conversation with wall-hanging sculptures by Portland artist Anne Crumpacker.
Since the 1990s, Grabner has used domestic fabrics as source material for painting, printmaking and sculpture, questioning the opposition between fine art and craft. Grabner favors crochet and gingham patterns from which she can create abstractions that are recognizable and familiar. Grabner has said that she hopes to “…reinvigorate some of the power struggles between burlap and linen, the loom and the stretcher, and concepts of labor and work, dichotomies most recently leveled by the free market’s objective to bring diversity to market.”
Anne Crumpacker’s Ensō works flow from long traditions of using bamboo in Japanese art and crafts. Crumpacker uses different widths of crosscut bamboo to form sculptural representations of the ensō (円相), a Japanese word meaning “circle” and a concept strongly associated with Zen. "Their personality," writes Brian Ferriso of the Portland Art Museum, "is grounding and humanizing." Her choice to hang them so that they float away from the wall, he continues, "gives them a dynamic quality, creating a deeply satisfying, never-ending visual voyage reminiscent of her personal quest for beauty."
Michelle Grabner’s multi-faceted career incorporates writing, curating and teaching with a studio practice grounded in process. She holds an MA in Art History and a BFA from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and an MFA from Northwestern University. A recent solo exhibition occurred at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (organized by David Norr). Collections holding her work include the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; MoCA, Chicago; Daimler Contemporary, Berlin; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois.
Anne Crumpacker’s wide-ranging arts administration and curatorial experience includes professional and volunteer work, primarily at Contemporary Crafts, Portland Center for the Visual Arts, and the Portland Art Museum. She holds a BA in psychology from Scripps College, an MFA in liberal studies from Reed College, and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design from Oregon College of Art and Craft + Pacific Northwest College of Art, as well as a teaching credential from University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, Crumpacker has been a student of Ikebana for over 15 years and received the American Bamboo Society 2012 Arts and Crafts Award. Collections housing her work include the US State Department Art in Embassies program and Matakauri Lodge, New Zealand.