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In the latest installment of the Circa series of exhibitions by Maine artists, the PMA presents new work by Andrea Sulzer. Based in Brunswick, Maine, Sulzer is an artist acclaimed for innovative drawings and prints that investigate the physical and conceptual concerns of graphic art.
Beginning April 26, PMA audiences will have the first opportunity to see Sulzer’s latest creations. Produced largely within the last six months, these are works that push the boundaries of her craft and her materials. There are abstract drawings in colored pencil that plumb the relationship between the handmade marks and paper support, and woodblock prints that create complex, unexpectedly varied surface topographies through multiple layers of ink. The exhibition also includes her “drawings in relief,” in which she transforms two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional, sculptural forms that project into the viewer’s space.
As I discovered on a visit to her studio last fall, Sulzer relies heavily on process and on the physical act of manipulating materials; she does not approach an artwork with a preconceived notion of how it will turn out, but rather, works through creative experiments that inform or reveal the final composition. Often, such experiments involve translations from one medium to another. For example,
she uses small sculptures made out of modeling clay in order to explore how to represent empty space—the void between forms—in her two-dimensional drawings. Sulzer’s investigative approach stems, in part, from her early career in plant sciences and botanical illustration. Turning to fine art, she earned an M.F.A. from the Glasgow School of Art. She has been in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and has received fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Maine Arts Commission, among others.
Sulzer’s first solo exhibition at the PMA will be on view through August 24 in the Fourth Floor Gallery.
Karen Sherry is the PMA Chief Curator and Curator of American Art. Prior to coming to the PMA, Sherry was the Associate Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, where she worked from 2003 to 2012. She has contributed to numerous exhibitions, catalogues, and other publications including: Fine Lines: American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum (2013); American Moderns: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell, 1910-1960 (2012); Japonisme in American Graphic Arts, 1880-1920 (2008); “Under the Open Sky”: Landscape Sketches by Nineteenth-Century American Artists (2007); Picturing Place: Francis Guy’s Brooklyn, 1820 (2006); and The Gist of Drawing: Works of Art on Paper by John Sloan (1997). She also worked as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and as an adjunct professor at various colleges. In addition to her professional positions, Sherry has been the recipient of fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Winterthur Museum. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in Art History from the University of Delaware and a B.A. in Art History from Boston University.