Exhibition of Alison Saar's Innovative Prints Opens April 4 at TMA

Eye On Art  |  03/06/2020 9:00 am

Mirror, Mirror: The Prints of Alison Saar will open April 4, 2020, at the Toledo Museum of Art. More than 30 prints and six sculptures from her 35-year career are featured in the exhibition.

“Alison Saar’s work resonates on so many levels because she utilizes materials in an inventive but accessible way,” explained TMA’s Senior Works on Paper Curator Robin Reisenfeld, Ph.D., who organized the exhibition.

Through works that intertwine the personal and universal, Saar, a biracial artist, challenges cultural and historic references and stereotypes. Like her wood sculptures, the artist’s innovative prints often center upon a strong single female figure, reminiscent of African deities, to address issues of racial identity, gender, heritage and spirituality.

“While she often works with similar subject matter and themes, it is interesting to see how she translates those concepts from one material to the next,” Reisenfeld said. “She breaks out of the traditional printmaking mold to reference her own ancestry and heritage.”

In High Yella’ Blue, an intaglio and pochoir print on a handkerchief, Saar depicts a woman’s face with brown and white tones, visually making the connection to the title’s mixed race reference. “High yellow” was a term coined during the time of slavery that described light-skinned individuals who shared African and European ancestry, but who were nevertheless classified as black.

“Saar creates an ‘everywoman’ generic face with tears running down her cheeks to indicate that grief is a commonly shared emotion,” Reisenfeld said. “The blank eyes and pronounced tears create an otherworldly and stoic expression that correlates with Saar’s interest in spiritual representation.”

The exhibition will run through July 5, 2020, in the New Media Gallery. The works are from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation and the Toledo Museum of Art.

Mirror, Mirror: The Prints of Alison Saar is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council.