Alison Saar, "Breach," 2016 and Amber Kempthorn's "Lost, I Said," 2016

Left: Alison Saar, "Breach," 2016. Right: Amber Kempthorn's "Lost, I Said," 2016.


Works By Two Powerful Storytellers to Be Showcased at CWAM

Sculpture, prints, paintings, and drawings by Alison Saar and Amber Kempthorn on display Jan. 17-March 10

19 December, 2016 by Hugh Howard

WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster Art Museum (CWAM) begins 2017 with exhibitions by two consummate visual storytellers – Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar, who will present “Breach,” featuring sculpture, painting, and prints, and northeast Ohio’s own Amber Kempthorn, who will show “A River Isn’t Too Much to Love,” which includes drawing and collage. Both exhibits run from Jan. 17-March 10 at the CWAM, located in Ebert Art Center (1220 Beall Ave.).

Kempthorn, who has taught at Wooster and the Cleveland Institute of Art as an adjunct professor of art since 2012, earned a bachelor’s degree from Hiram College in 2000 and a master of fine arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2008. Her highly-detailed drawings and collages take as their subject the minutia of everyday life distilled through the vagaries of memory. As the artist explains, “Because memory itself creates a strange hierarchy, the arrangement of space and the primary and attendant imagery in each drawing follows the rules of that hierarchy. The way we remember some things over others is not logical; it is mysterious.” The opening reception for “A River Isn’t Too Much to Love” will take place on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 6:30-8 p.m., with a gallery talk by Kempthorn at 7 p.m.

Saar, who received a bachelor’s degree from Scripps College and a master of fine arts degree from Otis College of Art and Design, was recognized as one of the country’s most accomplished and innovative artists in 2012 when named one of 50 USA Fellows by the United States Artists Program. A three-time recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, she most recently had a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Saar is represented by LA Louver Gallery in Venice, Calif.

“Throughout a career spanning more than three decades, Alison Saar has consistently hewn to the axiom ‘The personal is political,’” stated Kitty McManus Zurko, director and curator of the CWAM. “Ever the visual storyteller, Saar incisively drills into issues such as identity, motherhood, feminism, race, and politics in her work. In ‘Breach,’ the artist’s well-known practice of synthesizing disparate ideologies, histories, and imagery coalesce into a timely conversation that asks us to consider today’s divisive racial relations by reflecting on The Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927.”

Organized by the Lafayette College Art Galleries and curated by Michiko Okayo, “Breach” poses questions about the economics of who lives in flood-prone areas, environmental justice, and how such disasters have influenced music, art, and literature. Saar will be at Wooster on Wednesday, Feb. 1, for the opening reception of “Breach” from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., and will give a gallery talk at 7 p.m.

The CWAM, which supports the College’s goals of teaching, research, and global engagement, is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. For additional information, visit the CWAM’s website and/or call (330) 263-2495 or (330) 263-2388.