Knot Garden: Gianna Commito and Sarah Hotchkiss

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Knot Garden: Gianna Commito and Sarah Hotchkiss

Dec 1 — Jan 21, 2023

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Marrow Gallery presents Knot Garden with artists Gianna Commito and Sarah Hotchkiss. The two person exhibition opens on December 1, 2022 and runs through January 21, 2023 with a closing public reception on January 13 from 6-8 pm.

New to the gallery and exhibiting in their first show together, Commito and Hotchkiss work on opposite sides of the country, while sharing a visual language rooted in geometric abstraction. Commito, an artist and art professor at Kent State in Ohio, paints elaborate convergences of line, arc, shadow and depth. Hotchkiss, a San Francisco based artist and arts editor and writer, paints hard-edged and high contrast graphic compositions. Markedly unique in their subject and execution, the works in Knot Garden share a sense of spatial transaction where both artists use the two dimensional surface to carefully negotiate the tussles and space grabs of their formal pursuits.

Gianna Commito’s latest paintings are both an extension of and departure from earlier subject matter concerning architecture, urban planning and the built environment. Responding to the experience of living through a pandemic with her partner and their blended family, the new works reference the interiority of the built environment and the social dynamics that unfold within the limitations of shared space. Though painted in mostly muted tones, Commito’s angles and arcs are bold and confident in their well-placed collisions. Much like the social tangles of a family, these shapes assert themselves in front of, or politely withdraw behind each other, creating the sensation of a pulsing, four cornered organism or a liquid surface with a roiling undercurrent. Family dynamics are mysterious enough, and represented here as a dance of forceful triangular thrusts and soft curvy cradles, Commito obscures the picture plane further by weaving in sources of light and shadow, as complicated as the warp and weft of any social fabric.

Sarah Hotchkiss makes gouache and acrylic paintings inspired by graphic imagery unearthed in the course of her daily life. Maybe sourced during a trip to Alemany flea market or spied while observing architecture on a long walk, Hotchkiss tends toward the overlooked yet compelling design of puzzles, games, test cards, and everyday patterns. Once the material is secured, translation begins. Sketching, plotting and getting the math right, Hotchkiss solves potential design issues as they come up–lines and mass might be reduced, or patterns made more coherent, and color is often added. The painting technique is exacting; Hotchkiss does not use tape, for example, and spends significant time wrestling the surface into the flattest plane possible in order to facilitate smooth graphic lines. While the process might be intricate and painstaking, the resulting paintings are effortlessly striking, high-impact schematics. The union of frankly brash color pairings with vaguely familiar design elements writ large provide an uncanny viewing experience, drawing attention to the human compulsion toward collecting, organizing, designing and creating in order to look, feel, share and understand.

About Gianna Commito

Gianna Commito has exhibited her work at The Drawing Center, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, Wallspace, New York, and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York, among other venues. Commito has participated in artist residencies including the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, France, the MacDowell Colony in St. Peterborough, New Hampshire, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska, and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York. She was awarded the Cleveland Prize in 2015 and a Pollock- Krasner Foundation Grant in 2004. She lives and works in Kent, Ohio.

About Sarah Hotchkiss

Sarah Hotchkiss is a San Francisco-based artist and the senior associate editor for KQED Arts & Culture. Since 2020, she has also co-run the exhibition space Premiere Jr. on a billboard in the Inner Sunset. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Friends Indeed, San Francisco and group shows at Guerrero Gallery, Los Angeles; Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco; and Cheymore Gallery, Tuxedo Park. She has attended residencies at Skowhegan, ACRE and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska. In 2019 she received the Dorothea & Leo Rabkin Foundation Grant for arts journalism.