Sarah Crowner creates graphic compositions that discretely test the boundaries of abstract painting while also engaging and reshaping its art historical legacy. From afar, the bold geometric forms, clean lines, and elegant arabesques inhabiting her canvases conjure the pristine visual fields of geometric abstraction. On closer viewing, the presence of stitches and seams reveals a craft-oriented methodology in which raw and painted segments of canvas are cut, rearranged, and sewn together using the process-based logic of collage.
Crowner fuses the rarified realm of abstract painting with techniques associated with domestic craft; her works function as handwrought objects as much as traditional paintings. Informed by art historical research, Crowner’s works often make direct visual reference to specific motifs or formal elements of modernist artworks and mid-century design. Influenced by the interdisciplinary nature of early modernism, when many avant-garde artists engaged freely with painting, poetry, theater, and dance, Crowner often installs her works as backdrops or props for performances or places them in relation to tiled floors and platforms of her own conception. The tiles, designed by the artist and produced by artisans in Morocco, Mexico, and Spain, take the form of irregular pentagonal and herringbone patterns that echo forms found in nature.
Sarah Crowner was born in Philadelphia in 1974. She earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1996, and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York, in 2002. Crowner lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Today, Crowner’s immersive graphic environments and geometric abstractions transform the floor of the gallery into a pictorial space all its own.