Ann Shostrom, Insurgency (2006), cotton, synthetics, dyes, acrylic, wax resist, bleach and dye prints, 68″ x 116″; courtesy Elizabeth Harris Gallery
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If Robert Rauschenberg had been capable of more than feckless expertise he might have come up with art similar to that of Ann Shostrom. Like Rauschenberg, Shostrom fearlessly mixes media, reaffirms the grid as structural arbiter and riffs on Pop culture with fond disregard. At which point, neo-dadaist assemblage is left in the dust by an encompassing, head-over-heels embrace of allusion. Employing, embroidering and juxtaposing fabrics–dyed and not, stitched, patterned and frittered away through often caustic processes–Shostrom traverses East and West, camouflage and tie-dye, street art, the New York School and grandma’s doilies. The headiest pieces–Insurgency, Firestorm and the ineffable Secret Sharer Parts 1 and 2–transcend their patchwork nature through expanses of sumptuous color and an attention to surface that is tender, roughhewn and (let’s call it for what it is) sexy.
© 2011 Mario Naves