A Narrative Thread
February 20 through May 16, 2021
Amy Cutler is known for her highly detailed compositions of austere but immaculately attired women who, with singular focus, engage in bizarre or nonsensical activities—from sewing stripes onto tigers to delivering elixirs while wearing boot-shaped wooden stilts. Despite their fictionalized settings, the drawings are often inspired by Cutler’s own experiences and anxieties, which she brilliantly transforms into allegorical scenarios that resonate with emotional depth and humor. Seamlessly integrating subtle allusions to contemporary politics and even stories of religious martyrdom into her work, the artist is also influenced by a range of visual sources, including Persian miniatures, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, and ethnographic dress and textiles. This exhibition takes a deeper look at Cutler’s use of material culture as a subtle narrative device, and focuses particularly on her embrace of elaborate costuming and fabric patterns as a means to express her characters’ psychologies and to reinforce the narrative backstory of her compositions.
To date, support for Amy Cutler: A Narrative Thread has come from The David and Paula Kraemer Fund; Gina and Michael Carter; The Steinhauer Charitable Trust; and Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of the Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.