NMWA Presents Alison Saar In Print June 10–Oct. 2, 2016
May 04 2016
Alison Saar In Print focuses on Saar’s printmaking practice and its relationship to her sculptural work
WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents Alison Saar In Print, on view June 10–Oct. 2, 2016. Inspired by her sculptural practice, Alison Saar (b. 1956, Los Angeles) uses dynamic printmaking techniques characterized by bold forms and striking colors to explore themes of feminine, racial, and cultural identity. NMWA’s collection includes an array of Saar’s prints from throughout her career. This focus exhibition of 16 works samples the museum’s Saar holdings and also features related sculptures and prints from private collections.
Whether in two dimensions or three, the figures in Saar’s works are rich in textural detail and meaning. She grew up surrounded by art, thanks to her mother, the acclaimed collagist and assemblage artist Betye Saar, and her father, Richard, a painter and art conservator who ran a restoration shop. She developed her own artistic practice, creating sculptures made from found objects, and also began printmaking.
Saar’s prints often relate closely to her sculptures and assemblages, which are made from a wide range of materials. Her use of color infuses her subjects with a powerful energy. Against her prints’ spare backgrounds, the figures resemble freestanding sculptures, becoming potent distillations of Saar’s three-dimensional forms. Saar often portrays people interacting with evocative objects such as snakes, frying pans and knives, which allude to a range of myths, lores and legends. She also critiques cultural stereotypes, depicting figures that transform into brooms or consume cotton.