Urgent Museum Notice

Image for No Man’s Land: Painting Or Sculpture?

NO MAN’S LAND: Painting or Sculpture?

Blog Category:  Artist Spotlight

Contemporary large-scale paintings and sculptural hybrids are on view in NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection. The exhibition imagines a visual conversation between 37 women artists from 15 countries exploring images of the female body and the physical process of making. Dianna Molzan, Tauba Auerbach, and Analia Saban blur the line between painting and sculpture through their experimental approaches to conventional materials and techniques.

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, 2010; Oil on canvas on fir; Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Dianna Molzan, Untitled, 2010; Oil on canvas on fir; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

What’s On View?
Dianna Molzan’s untitled work, 2010
Dianna Molzan (b. 1972, Tacoma, Washington) says, “I’m definitely a painter. . . . But it’s fun to see how far I can push things.” Molzan uses traditional materials like canvas, wood, pigment, and brushes to create paintings that are often described as sculptural. Her restructured canvases highlight the “drama of presentation” while challenging conventions of painting.
Molzan’s investigations of painting defy expectations. One of her untitled works on view embraces three-dimensionality by revealing the wooden supports and gallery walls beneath unraveled canvas. The space itself becomes a part of her piece, while referencing the history of painting. In describing her smart and playful works, Molzan says, “I’ve likened them to paintings in drag. . . . I’m trying to do my best impersonation.”
Analia Saban’s Acrylic in Canvas, 2010
Analia Saban (b. 1980, Buenos Aires, Argentina) often blurs the line between mediums “in a way that deconstructs and re-visualizes the very process of art-making.”

Analia Sabain, Acrylic in Canvas, 2010; Acrylic in canvas bag; Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Analia Sabain, Acrylic in Canvas, 2010; Acrylic in canvas bag; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Acrylic in Canvas consists of a canvas bag filled with vibrantly colored acrylic paint. Propped up against a wall, the work combines the traditional ingredients of painting in a new way that questions the medium’s boundaries. Saban sometimes describes her work as “the process of sculpture applied to a painting.”
Saban’s work complicates conventional ideas about painting. “Usually we think of painting on canvas,” she says. “It was interesting to think of painting as pigment on thread.”
With a playful title just one letter away from describing a traditional form of painting, Acrylic in Canvas reminds viewers how flexible borders between seemingly discrete categories can be.
Tauba Auerbach’s Slice II, 2012

Tauba Auerbach, Slice II, 2012; Woven canvas on wooden stretcher; Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Tauba Auerbach, Slice II, 2012; Woven canvas on wooden stretcher; Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Slice II, by Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981, San Francisco, California), explores the boundaries between text and meaning, appearance and reality, and two and three dimensions.
Working in a wide range of mediums, Auerbach expresses interest in structure, technology, and binaries.
A woven canvas on a wooden stretcher, Slice II resembles a conventional abstract painting at first glance. However, the canvas is not painted, and her weaving process is more closely akin to a sculptural technique. Auerbach says these works have “a teeter-tottering quality: they oscillate between being flat surfaces and 3D objects.”
Visit the museum and explore NO MAN’S LAND, on view through January 8, 2017.
Reserve your spot to meet artist Analia Saban at NMWA on November 11, 2016 for a special in-gallery conversation.

Related Posts

  • Art Fix Friday: April 9, 2021

    Posted: Apr 09, 2021 in Art Fix Friday
    A photo essay explores acts of love in Asian and Asian American communities; Bisa Butler: Portraits at the Art Institute of Chicago; and more.
    A black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned adult woman holding a newspaper with news about World War II. She wears a coat and her short, curly hair is caught in the wind.
    Blog Category:  Art Fix Friday
  • Modern Makers: Océanne

    Posted: Apr 08, 2021 in Museum Shop
    Océanne is a line of minimalist modern jewelry and apparel by French designer Anne Harrill. We spoke with Harrill about her mission and more.
    A small, circular brass keychain pendant is engraved with the phrase
    Blog Category:  Museum Shop
  • A Closer Look—Mary Ellen Mark: Girlhood

    Posted: Apr 05, 2021 in NMWA Exhibitions
    Mark often took personal interest in those she met and photographed. Learn about the photographer's relationships with several of her subjects, who she portrayed with empathy, humor, and candor.
    A black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned girl submerged in a white bathtub. Only her head is visible above the soap suds, and her dark hair hangs over the side of the tub. The floor beneath the tub is tiled.
    Blog Category:  NMWA Exhibitions