For her exhibition at The Arts Club of Chicago, artist Amy Sillman elaborates a trajectory of free-hanging, two-sided works on paper that play upon the physical and emotional demands of mark-making. With intermittently recognizable figural motifs on one side, Sillman layers pungent colors and fields of interest in restless proposals of form on the other. The serial images are installed like a rebus that treats the gallery as a unified entity. Responding in part to the intractability of our societal moment, Sillman’s figures seem to drag themselves through space–they age, succumb to gravity, leak fluids, and yet rebound in still one more frame ready to continue their enormous efforts. This weighted sense of time matches the durational aspect of Sillman’s painting practice, which relies upon repeated transformations, obliterations, and excavations.
Sillman (b. Detroit, 1955) returns to the Midwest for her first exhibition in the city of Chicago, during a thrilling crescendo in her three decade long career. Featuring new and recent painting, Amy Sillman: The Nervous System calls upon abstract and figurative motifs to address the material and emotional conditions of being human in fraught political times.
Amy Sillman (born in 1955 in Detroit, MI) lives and works in New York City. She received a BFA from School of Visual Art, NYC, in 1979 and an MFA from Bard College in 1995. Primarily a painter, but actively engaging with various side interests (such as animation, language, and printmaking), Sillman weaves together a formal and discursive language, one that engages both formally and critically with painting’s history and language. Working with humor, defiance, and an almost archeological sensibility, she builds and deconstructs paintings through intermittent layers and transformations, working toward the not-[quite]-known. Sillman’s work has been shown widely in the US and Europe, and is in the collections of museums such as MoMA, The Whitney Museum, The Drawing Center, The Brooklyn Museum, LA MoCA, Portikus in Frankfurt, Lenbachhaus and the Brandhorst Museum in Munich, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and The Tate Modern, London. She has received numerous fellowships and grants, including a Guggenheim in 2001, and been an invited guest at The Radcliffe Foundation, The American Academy in Rome, and in the fall, at the Rauschenberg Foundation. Her last solo show, “Landline,” was held at Camden Arts Centre in London from September 2018 until January 2019. A recent monograph was published by Lund Humphries Publishers, London, with a text by author/curator Valerie Smith. Sillman is represented in New York by Gladstone Gallery, and currently holds a Professorship at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt, Germany.