Clay Bodies: Moving Through Ceramics opens at KMAC December 15

A Sarah Crowner painting consists of monochrome canvas shapes stitched together with an industrial sewing machine. The resulting bold abstractions reference a visual language closely aligned with the Bauhaus aesthetic and modernism. In Clay Bodies: Moving Through Ceramics, the Brooklyn-based artist mirrors her painting practice by arranging ceramic objects into KMAC’s exhibition space, exploring her ability to place seemingly fragmented objects into a new order that is both expressive and intuitive. This new context honors the original creators and acknowledges their voices in the work.

The collaboration between artist and object results in a re-imagined collection now defined by the artist’s own narrative. For Crowner’s process, the works are placed unscientifically and with a formal slant, as opposed to being arranged by geography or time period. Human creations are shown comparatively and without hierarchy.  These ideas have precedent within the artist’s practice. Sarah Crowner/Tutsi Baskets, Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm, 2016, a collaboration with the artist and dealers Clive Loveless and Andreas Moraga whose collection of finely woven Tutsi Baskets rested on small shelves against a blue wall abstraction conceived by the artist.  This presentation of fine art and traditional craft from Rwanda and Burundi was an attempt to re-articulate the work of craft peoples from other periods and geographic origin.

Looking at modes of museum display, Crowner’s cut-out forms of arching gestures will become tables and platforms to hold works by other artists.  Walls segments of color will be painted throughout the galleries as though swatches of fabric prior to stitching. The Ceramic pieces selected and displayed are borrowed from California, Kentucky, and from artist’s studio mates. Samples of ceramic glaze experiments uniquely formed clay surfaces, and over 200 pieces of selected ceramic works borrowed from the collections of Berea College, Al Shands, and artist Doyle Lane (1925-2002), will grant KMAC Museum visitors insight into Crowner’s inspirations for her practice.

“I see my practice as a way to call attention to the spaces outside of the painting, as an immersion in the world at large.” –Sarah Crowner

Sarah Crowner was born in Philadelphia in 1974 and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MFA from Hunter College, New York. Crowner’s solo exhibitions include Beetle in the Leaves, at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2017). Her work has been included in group exhibitions and projects at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2018); The Wright Restaurant, Guggenheim Museum (2017; Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2014); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013); WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium (2013); ICA, Philadelphia (2013); Zacheta National Museum of Art, Warsaw, Poland (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); and the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her work is held in the collections of Guggenheim Museum, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Clay Bodies will be on display during regular KMAC Hours from December 15, 2018 to April 7, 2019. Guided tours are available during drop-in docent hours on weekends, or by request at Spanish-language tours are available.  For more information or to schedule interviews, contact Maddie Tong at, or by phone at 502-589-0102, ext. 1007.

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