Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to Taiwan and the Toby Devan Lewis fellowship. She has participated as an artist in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Sky Dayton, Vermont Studio Center, Salzburg Kunstlerhauss, Triangle Workshop and Anderson Ranch Art Center residencies, and will take part in the Bemis Center residency program in 2012. Mann is currently an instructor at American University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Artist Statement: My paintings show how patterned, highly-wrought, decorative elements coalesce from the chaos and contingency of an organic environment--and how they dissolve into that environment again. I begin each painting with a stain of color, the product of chance evaporation of ink and water from the paper as it lies on the floor of the studio. From this shape, I nourish the landscape of each painting, coaxing from this organic foundation the development of diverse, decorative forms: braids of hair, details from Beijing opera costuming, lattice-work, sequined patterns. Although founded in adornment, these elements are repeated until they too appear organic, even cancerous... and they at once highlight and suffocate the underlying ink stained foundation. Each of my paintings is tense with the threat of disunity and incoherence as nature and artifice spring from and merge into one another, and as different elements multiply and expand like poisonous growths.
My paintings are utter hybrids; man-sized fields punctuated by moments of absurdity, poetry, mutation, growth and decay that I find both suffocating and fabulous. They glory in the sensuous and the rambling, but intersperse the chaos with moments of neurotic control. They explore the potentialities of growth, but also of overabundance. I think of my work as baroque abstract: a celebration of the abundance of connections and clashes that can be found in the disparate mess of matter in the world.