create! Magazine features KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

29 Aug

Water Ribbon, A Solo Exhibition By Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann At Morton Fine Art In Washington D.C.

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Water Ribbon, 2021, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 90 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Water Ribbon, 2021, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 90 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

We’re excited to share the announcement of Water Ribbon, a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Washington, D.C.-based artist Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, on view from September 8th – October 6th, 2021 at Morton Fine Art. Featuring a collection of recent pieces by the artist, the exhibition offers an evocative perspective on contemporary ecologies during a time at which environmental destruction and the consequences of climate change loom ever larger. Utilizing acrylic, sumi ink, and collage, Mann draws from traditions of Chinese landscape painting to create mesmerizing, vibrant depictions of organic matter.

Mann begins her process by pouring liquid pigments onto paper, allowing them to dry and yielding a stain of color from which the work is then based. Through an embrace of the indeterminate qualities of her materials—the ink or paint takes its own course, without the artist dictating its shapes or forms—Mann demonstrates a symbiotic relationship to her materials that serves as an apt metaphor for coexistence with the natural world. What results from Mann’s subsequent additions to the paper are rich, layered tableaus imbued with an affective interplay of ideas.

Of the challenges posed by her recent work, Mann describes her rumination upon “the resuscitation of landscape painting in a world where ‘landscape’ is represented and defined through an ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms.” At times almost dizzying, the pieces shown in Water Ribbon eschew Western conventions of spatial perspective and inert figuration, instead embracing qualities of movement and monumentality central to Chinese landscape painting traditions.

Bright hues and a multiplicity of patterns are nestled among Mann’s illustrations of flora and fauna, with streams of ink evoking vines and riverbeds. Lying in the tension between the artificial and the organic, Mann’s renderings suggest and intertwining of systems rather than a constant grappling for control or domination. Splashes of ink seep across each image, traversing various shapes and forms. Elsewhere, translucent swathes of paint filter views of plant life, appearing like stained-glass window through which to gaze. “In my most recent work, I hope to live in the tradition of landscape painting, experiencing it for what it has always been: an occasion for radical experimentation and confrontation with the world, in the broadest sense of the term that sustains us,” said Mann. Amongst all the chaos and beauty, Water Ribbon proposes a mode of coexistence attuned to change, reciprocity, and an honoring of diverse forms of life.

Arch 3, 2020, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 56 x 56 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art
Arch 3, 2020, Acrylic and sumi ink on paper, 56 x 56 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

Artist Statement:

My work’s abstractions arise from the subjects I portray: ecological and geological cycles, processes of chemical corrosion and natural efflorescence. With roots in traditions of Chinese landscape painting, my monumentally sized paintings and installations evolve a fantastic, abstract vision of the natural world. My latest work confronts the challenge: the resuscitation of landscape painting in a world where “landscape” is represented and defined through an ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms. How can a painting capture flux, abundance, waste, fertility, and the collision and collusion of diverse forms? How can it respond to the pressure we place on our era’s fragile ecosystem? My paintings explore both questions by sustaining tension between what is artificial and what is natural, between what is chemical and what is biological, between organic and inorganic. The paper on which I paint is not only a recognition of a tradition of Chinese painting; it is also a medium of vulnerability and expansiveness, susceptible to crease and tear as well as to collage and collation. My own role in the creation of the paintings strikes a balance between the purposive and the protective. I trust to process, chance, and change, but I encourage, direct, and facilitate all of these. In my most recent work, I hope to live in the tradition of landscape painting, experiencing it for what it has always been: an occasion for radical experimentation and confrontation with the world, in the broadest sense of the term that sustains us.

Crust, Mantle, Core, 2021, Acrylic and collage on paper, 60 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

Crust, Mantle, Core
, 2021, Acrylic and collage on paper, 60 x 60 in, Image courtesy of Morton Fine Art.

Alicia Puig

Available artwork by KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN

Contact Morton Fine Art to view by appointment. (202) 628-2787 (call or text), info@mortonfineart.com. Mask required.

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