What is it?
Michelle Grabner (b. Appleton 1962)
Oil and gesso on burlap
78 1/4 x 186 5/8 in.
Lent 2020, Courtesy of the Green Gallery
About the Work
Michelle Grabner is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is deeply rooted in art history while also critical of dominant systems that have held sway over the art world. Her academic interests are similarly broad, encompassing critiquing and writing about art as well as making it. Grabner is on the faculty at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Yale University, and she writes regularly for leading arts magazines. She and her husband, artist and educator Brad Killam, run two artist spaces in Wisconsin.
Untitled consists of twenty-seven 24-by-18-inch paintings of textile patterns based on the design of gingham tablecloths, which feature frequently in French Impressionist paintings. She allows subtle layers of harmonious underpainting to peek through the pattern. Varying the color of a repeated image is associated with Andy Warhol, but Grabner celebrates neither famous celebrities nor mass-produced goods, instead presenting a humble domestic fabric as an object worthy of aesthetic contemplation. Close examination of the canvases reveals slight and subtle differences typical of handmade goods.