Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multi-media installations. Using time as process and material, her methods of making serve as an invocation of place, of collective voice, of communities past and of labor present. Noted for a dense accumulation of materials, her ephemeral environments create immersive experiences that poetically respond to the architectural presence and social history of their sites. Whether inhabiting a building four stories high or confined to the surface of a thimble, the genesis of Hamilton's art extends outwards from the primary projections of the hand and mouth. Her attention to the uttering of a sound or the shaping of a word with the hand places language and text at the tactile and metaphoric center of her installations. To enter their liminality is to be drawn equally into the sensory and linguistic capacities of comprehension that construct our faculties of memory, reason and imagination.
In a time when successive generations of technology amplify human presence at distances for greater than the reach of the hand, what becomes the place and form of making at the scale and pace of the individual body? How does making participate in the recuperation and recognition of embodied knowledge? What are the places and forms for live, tactile, visceral, face-to-face experiences in a media saturated world? These concerns have animated the site responsive installations that have formed the bulk of Hamilton's practice over the last 20 years. But where the relations of cloth, sound, touch, motion and human gesture once gave way to dense materiality, Hamilton's work now focuses on the less material acts of reading, speaking and listening. The influence of collaborative processes in ever more complex architectures has shifted her forms of making, wherein the movement of the viewer in time and in space now becomes a central figure of the work.
Born in Lima, Ohio, in 1956, Ann Hamilton received a BFA in textile design from the University of Kansas in 1979 and an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art in 1985. From 1985 to 1991, she taught on the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Hamilton has served on the faculty of The Ohio State University since 2001, where she is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Art.
Among her many honors, Hamilton has been the recipient of the Heinz Award, MacArthur Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, and the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. She represented the United States in the 1991 Sao Paulo Bienal, the 1999 Venice Biennale, and has exhibited extensively around the world. Her major commissions include projects for Waterfront Seattle (upcoming); Park Avenue Armory (2013); The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis (2010); The Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009); Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan (2006); La Maison Rouge Fondation de Antoine Galbert, Paris, France (2005); Historiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2004); MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2003); The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2003, 1991); The Wanas Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (2002); Akira Ikeda Gallery, Taura, Japan (2001); The Musee d'art Contemporain, Lyon, France (1997); The Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1996); The Art Institute of Chicago (1995); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994); The Tate Gallery, Liverpool (1994); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1993); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988).
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