Jane Hammond

Jane Hammond: Paper Work
5 September—17 December 2006

Jane Hammond makes her own rules. To experience her creations is to enter a world that is disciplined, yet unfettered; familiar, yet disorienting; referential, yet utterly original. How else to describe an artist who invented her own language based on 276 borrowed images culled from print sources on everything from puppetry to beekeeping?

Hammond’s personal lexicon literally marries word and icon, which is why Hammond’s works are so often described as literary. She likens her process to a “semiotic Genome project,” showcasing the endlessly variant interactions between image and viewer through which meanings emerge. Hammond’s wicked, witty collage style is extremely relevant to our present moment, in which authenticity and rootedness may feel threatened by what Hammond has described as the “bodilessness of information.” As noted American critic Nancy Princenthal observed, Hammond approaches the questions and obsessions of late modernism “with as much goofy humor as erudite intelligence.”

Although she made her reputation as a painter, Hammond is presented in this exhibition as the quintessential paper artist. Jane Hammond: Paper Work features 55 unique paper objects. Zany and thoughtful, mysterious and quotidian, Hammond’s drawings and prints collage together myriad techniques and materials, as well as ideas and feelings, creating a stream of mental associations and visual stimuli. Her works on paper reference board games, scrapbooks, maps, charts, books and even three-dimensional costumes. Together, they suggest a “through the looking glass” universe of storytelling, which may be why Hammond has been compared to Lewis Carroll for her “learned and playful literary intelligence [and] her fascination with puzzles of logic and mathematics.” Hammond cheekily identifies herself as a hybrid of Sol LeWitt and Frida Kahlo.

The exhibition, along with its accompanying catalogue, affords the first opportunity to explore the centrality of Hammond’s paper-based media. It also enhances our appreciation of Hammond's artistic accomplishment, her technical virtuosity, and her intellectual ambition. After Paper Work closes at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, it will embark on a national tour.

Jane Hammond: Paper Work Exhibition Tour
Tucson Museum of Art
16 February—29 April 2007

Chazen Museum of Art
University of Wisconsin
24 June—12 August 2007

Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock
7 September—11 November 2007

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University
19 January—30 March 2008

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young
3 May—31 August 2008

Detroit Institute of Arts
1 October 2008—10 January 2009

Learn more about Jane Hammond and her work.

Image Captions:

Jane Hammond (American, b. 1950)
The Wonderfulness of Downtown
Lithograph and silkscreen with collage, 1997

Jane Hammond (American, b. 1950)
Still Life with Seal
Gouache and acrylic paint with solvent transfers, graphite, crayon, linoleum block prints, rubber stamps, and color Xerox on collaged Japanese papers, 1999
Private Collection
©Jane Hammond