AN INTERVIEW WITH Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann
Where were you born?
Madison, Wisconsin. I only lived there for the first 6 months of my life, however. I spent my childhood moving every couple of years between the US, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Israel.
Where do you live?
Please tell us about your education.
Brown University BA, Maryland Institute College of Art MFA
Do you work with a gallery?
Yes, Morton Fine Art in Washington, DC, Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto, Canada, and very recently, Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco.
Please tell us about your career highlights.
I just finished a residency in DC called the Artist Mother Studio, created by artist Amy Hughes Braden, that provided not only the traditional residency staples of time and space to work, but also a community of artist mothers and free childcare. It's a model that I really believe in and a highlight because it's been the only institutional opportunity in my practice that has taken into account, and valued, my status as a parent.
Other career highlights include a site specific installation at Facebook, and some of my collaborative projects--I've been able to collaborate with kids, college students, seniors, photographers, dancers, writers, sculptors, and of course, other painters.
What inspires you?
Buddhist cave painting in Dunhuang, China. Ancient Roman garden murals. The history and trajectory of landscape painting, in China and Europe. Satellite and remote sensing data. The nature of paper and the nature of water. Maximalism, overgrowth. Feminine and decorative stereotypical objects. Escapism and utopia.
Please tell us about your concept.
It's a bit of a mashup of all the things I listed above. My latest paintings confront the challenge: the resuscitation of landscape painting in a world where "landscape" is represented and defined through an ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms. How can a painting capture flux, abundance, waste, fertility, and the collision and collusion of diverse forms? How can it respond to the pressure we place on our era's fragile ecosystem? I hope to live in the tradition of landscape painting, experiencing it for what it has always been: an occasion for radical experimentation and confrontation with the world, in the broadest sense of the term, that sustains us.
What is your current project and your next goal?
I just completed a residency at MASS MoCA, and another at the Artist Mother Studio, and in both I begin experimenting with the substrate of a painting, collaging together a textured, piecemeal and barely-sculptural collaged-paper substrate upon which to paint. I'd like to push that further in the future.
What are your thoughts about THE LINE DRAWING PROJECT?
I was already drawn to the meandering, the cobbled together, the slow evolution, the hybrid and heterogeneous, the collaborative. Line Drawing Project is, in the best sense, all of these things. How could I not love it? It's absolutely fascinating to see how one artist will separate, and then run with, a thread from the artist before her. It's like a beautiful game of telephone.
It was a pleasure. Thank you very much, Katherine.
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann
Acrylic, sumi ink, collage and latex paint on walls and floor.
30 x 30 x 30 ft.
Commissioned by Facebook AIR at Facebook Washington, DC
Acrylic and sumi ink on collaged paper
50 x 90 inches
‘Coiled Soil' 2018
Acrylic and sumi ink on paper
60 x 86 inches