One Lump or Two, Amy Sillman
Joe Ledue writes for Art New England
As the title for a mid-career retrospective organized by the ICA, Boston, Amy Sillman: one lump or two, sounds cozy and whimsical, an art exhibition cast as a pleasant chat over tea. Then one recalls a similar question once was asked by Bugs Bunny before he delivered whacks to the head of the unsuspecting Pete Puma. Sillman’s own humor, delivered in a bemused, just-between-us tone, abounds in her art, particularly in the cartoons that punctuate the exhibition with running side-commentary.
Calling her goal “a rescue of gestural form from its bad ideology,” meaning the aesthetic and political boxes in which postwar American abstraction found itself, Sillman reinvigorates a beloved painterly mode by shrugging off its baggage. Her wit disarms expectations, allowing her to explore modernist form in a contemporary manner, invention flowing seemingly unfiltered from an endlessly turning mind and hand. “Painting is a physical thinking process to continue an interior dialogue,” Sillman writes, and the many joking asides in her drawings and paintings are only one level of conversation bubbling through her work. more
|Amy Sillman, Unearth, 2003 Collection of Barbara Lee, Cambridge, MA, Photo: John Berens|
|Amy Sillman, A Phrase Guide for the Spring Art Season, poster, 2006|