Sarah Crowner explores the spaces where geometry abuts gesture, materiality merges with composition, and the graphic confronts the handmade. Incorporating two- and three-dimensional works across a variety of media (painting, sculpture, installation, and set design), Crowner’s work points to an expanded field of painting, investigating the relationship between the element and the whole, and how parts build an entirety. Her sewn canvases initially appear pristine in their geometry; however closer inspection reveals the various slippages, imprints, and nuances of hand-painted surfaces constructed from separate yet related elements. Evident in Crowner’s paintings is her deep knowledge and involvement with tile: much like mosaics are created from the interplay of several tiles, her abstract canvases are constructed with individual pieces of canvas, which fused together make a whole that is far more tactile and active than may be apparent in their initial cool, elegant appearance.
Architecture and space are as significant to Crowner’s practice as is painting. Her tiled platforms, stone sculptures, and site-specific wall pieces transform spaces into three-dimensional experiences in which the viewer processes the environment as one autonomous artwork. Her patterns, drawn equally from the natural world and historic sources, create an entryway between the art object and the context, enabling the viewer to literally step inside her work. Crowner has also created set designs for dance and theatrical performance, which further underscore her desire and ability to envelop the viewer in her vision, and blur distinctions between various media and scales.
Sarah Crowner was born in Philadelphia in 1974. She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1996 and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York in 2002. In 2016, Crowner was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; a major monograph was produced on the occasion of that exhibition. Crowner’s work has also been featured in a number of group exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial 2010, New York; Abstract Generation: Now in Print, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Excursus IV: Primary Information, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2013); Painter Painter, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013); Conversation Piece, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2014); and the Carnegie International Exhibition, 57th Edition (2018). Upcoming solo exhibitions in 2022 include the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX and the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico. Her work is in the collection of major international institutions including Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; The Contemporary Austin, TX; Dallas Museum of Art, TX; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN.