Sabina Ott: Ornament

Curated by Anne Harris
November 23 – January 11, 2014
Reception: Saturday, November 23, 5 – 8pm

With guest artists: Phyllis Bramson, Susanne Doremus, Matthew Girson, Michelle Grabner, Dan Gunn, Joe Jeffers, Anna Kunz, Michelle Wasson

Talk + Publication:  A conversation between Sabina Ott and Michelle Grabner
Sunday, December 8, 3 – 6pm with talk at 4pm


Click here to read the essay written by Anne Harris on the work of Sabina Ott
Preview and purchase the exhibition catalogue for Sabina Ott: Ornament 

The Riverside Arts Center is pleased to present Sabina Ott’s solo exhibition, Ornament, featuring Ott’s rococo constructions. With the aesthetic of a magpie, Ott creates a playful, glittering mash-up whose apparent free-for-all disguises tension, intelligence and a sophisticated conversation with the history of painted space. Embedded in this show are small works by leading Chicago artists; pieces selected by Ott that will literally and figuratively be reflected in Ott’s work. In her catalog essay, artist/curator Anne Harris writes that Ott’s current sculptural assemblages function as “condensed universes” or gravitational “white holes”:

“….they pull us in by bouncing light back. They attract us by winking. These lumpy objects dangle from ceilings and walls, or perhaps jut upward from the floor, studded with twinkly bits and shards of mirror (and occasional plant life) pressed into a mass made of, essentially, spray foam. They have the gravity of small things, akin to the moons of mars, which are potato shaped because they lack the mass needed to become round. They pull their stuff inward awkwardly, having yet to learn the lesson of the rotund, that one must reach a certain heft to become a true sphere.”

Sabina Ott is known for her broad range of work—from painting to installation to sculpture—and her central role in the art world as teacher, administrator, and recently as the founder of the exhibition space Terrain, which invites artists to create installations and performances using the exterior of her Oak Park home. She earned both her BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.  Exhibiting since 1985, Ott has participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions at institutions in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Auckland, New Zealand; Melbourne, Australia; and many cities across the US. Her work is in numerous museum collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Oakland Museum of Art, and has been reviewed in Art in America, Art Forum, New Art Examiner, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She is Professor of Art at Columbia College in Chicago.