Whitney Biennial 2014

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2014 Biennial. The guide also features commentary from Biennial curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

415—Amy Sillman, Mother, 2013–14


AMY SILLMAN: It’s structured around a grid.

NARRATOR: Amy Sillman on her painting, Mother.

AMY SILLMAN: The grid kind of implies that you could actually literally read it either as a completely abstract grid. Or you could read it as a figure with two legs and a shoe and an arm out and a thing in their hand. Or as though it had a big head sitting on a shelf. I mean, there's ways you could read it anthropomorphically.

And yet, the color relations do not conform to that figuration. They almost contradict it completely. So where the person seems to have legs, their legs are see-through, like a window. And where the person, should they be a person, seems to have blockages, it's where you would have your head.

It doesn't really make any sense, and I like the contradictory relations between color, pure abstraction, and possible figure.

NARRATOR: Mother is related to Fells, Sillman’s collaboration with the sculptor Pam Lins, which is on view nearby. 


Amy Sillman, _Mother_, 2013-14. Oil on canvas, 91 × 84 in. (231.1 × 213.4 cm) Collection of the artist; courtesy Sikkema Jenkins Co., New York. Photograph by John Berens