Magazine article Artforum International

Jane Hammond: Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. (Cleveland)

Magazine article Artforum International

Jane Hammond: Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. (Cleveland)

Article excerpt

Self-imposed restrictions play a major role in Jane Hammond's art. In the past she has limited herself to two standard sizes of canvas and titled her paintings only by strings of numbers determined by her compositions; since 1988 she has constructed crowded surrealist stories using a fixed repertoire of 276 symbols and images borrowed from books, games, paintings, scientific charts, and various other sources. In 1993 Hammond initiated another kind of process: She asked poet John Ashbery to write down some titles for paintings that she would then execute. He came up with forty-four, and she has been mining that material ever since, sometimes making more than one painting per title.

In the sixty-four paintings of "The John Ashbery Collaboration, 1993-2001" (eighteen of which were on view here), Hammond continued to use only her stock images, but in two new developments, most of the works are on shaped canvases and many are multipanel. Sore Models #2, 1994, is shaped like a pair of large feet, and Irregular Plural #5, 1995, an open book, with each element on the left page matched to a slightly different one on the right. Lobby Card, 2000, presents isolated symbols in silhouette on small white panels attached to a white support. Mad Elga, 1996, is a spiral of sixty-three pictures--heads, bridges, dice, flowers--based on a child's game. In several works titled The Soapstone Factory, 1999, Hammond floats her elements within a deep, stagelike space.

Like Ashbery, Hammond tells stories that are often difficult to decipher. Looking at No One Can Win at the Hurricane Bar, 1998-99, which superimposes dartboards, playing cards and dominoes, a girl's head in a boat, and bits of a broken sail on a map of Florida, we sense the devastation caused by a hurricane. But what on earth is happening in Wonderful You #2, 1996, a lineup of self-portraits as Christ crucified, a clown, a jack-in-the-box, a Buddhist deity, a skeleton, an armed knight, an African warrior, Santa Claus, and a young girl? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.