Sarah Rossiter – Velocity (Works)

Selected Works

Sarah Rossiter

February 5 – March 28, 1998

Sarah Rossiter – Velocity Press Release

Sarah Rossiter’s second solo show consists of a series of color photographs of the artist with images projected onto her body. The projections are of paintings done by her motherin 1974. The bright colors and ’70s formalism of the paintings contrast with the artist’s presence, addressing the complexities of being a daughter, a woman artist and questioning generational continuity, responsibility, and loss.

In a statement addressing the personal history attached to this body of work, the artist wrote:

“In 1970 when I was born, my mother Ann Kinner was in art school at Cornell University. She was from a small town in upstate New York, where the guidance counselor told her she had two choices: art school or nursing. She was 18, so was my father. She painted. I have pictures of her working in her studio at home with me, a sleeping baby, in the background. All of her work from that time is gone. The person she was is gone. When I was two my parents divorced. My father was given voluntary custody of me so my mother could study art and travel in Europe. When she returned to Ithaca I would see her occasionally, she was always very beautiful. When I was four she has an apartment in downtown Ithaca where she  kept huge cages of canaries and painted. I think of these years as the best years of her life. 36 paintings on paper, done in 1974, are all that exist from that period – the rest she burned.

My mother remarried in 1977. She dabbled in landscape watercolors and took few figure drawing classes, but she no longer made art seriously. For many years, I have been invested in a romanticized vision of my mother as a young artist. However, I am always aware that my birth seemed to be her demise. I don’t actually know what happened, I don’t even really believe the facts. Until recently I thought the explanation lay within her somewhere, but she is silent, still undecided.

Recently my mother showed me, for the first time, some of the paintings (she calls them studies) from 1974. I told her I wanted to use them in my art and she let me. The photographs in this show consist of those paintings projected on me from slides. In some of the images I appear aggressive, in others I look accusatory or hurt, confronting our history through our art. The variable speeds at which she and I collide are frozen, for a moment.”


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