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Sasha Pierce


A connecting thread between the artworks of Canada-based Sasha Pierce is literally thread: her works of the past fifteen years reference textiles, even though they are not textiles in themselves. With a highly ingenious approach to abstract painting, Pierce meticulously lays multi colored lines of oil paint onto linen in dense, thread—like patterns. Using mathematical models for geometrical form as the starting point of her kaleidoscopic compositions, Pierce translates precise diagrams into tangible form. Pierce carefully squeezes vermicelli-thin strands of paint out of a plastic bag, then uses a ruler to shore up the strands against one another, not unlike how a reed pushes threads tightly together in a loom. In her hands paint is akin to sculptural material, her paintings easily mistaken for textiles or tapestries. Significantly however, Pierce succeeds in intensely activating both physical presence and optical perception. Shapes twist and refract. Variegated lines waver, bend and warp as we experience anew the parameters of visual perception. Surface pattern recedes in favor of individual form and color; yet overall geometry persists, and we recognize the impossibility of perceiving all patterns at once.

Pierce’s one-of-a-kind monotypes are also made with paint, but again not in the way one would expect paint to be applied: the acrylic paint is combined with screen-printing medium and pulled through a screen on to tissue thin paper. They are made like most printed textiles in the world (although industrial screen-printing is mechanized, not hand-pulled like Pierce’s). The construction of these works has a further textile connection: Pierce has made a project of piecework for herself. The geometry of the final image is broken into repeating units. When printed, they look similar to a dressmaker’s pattern: precise shapes mapped out on to tissue. The shapes are cut out and assembled together to create the original geometry of Pierce’s composition. Yet, instead of keeping the pieces flat, she attaches them at the back of the paper to create a slight ridge: a seam, in fact. Through this subtle gesture, Pierce once again points to the third dimension of her work.

Pierce received her Bachelor of Arts Degree, Honors, at the University of Guelph, Ontario in 1997 and a Master of Fine Arts Degree, at the University of Waterloo, Ontario in 2004, where she was awarded the Sylvia Knight Graduate Award in Fine Arts. Pierce has had solo exhibitions at Jessica Bradley, Toronto, Ontario; ACME, Los Angeles, California; and CTRL Gallery, Houston, Texas (just to name a few). Pierce has also been in numerous group exhibitions at Mercer Union, Toronto; Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan; II, Ballhaus Ost, Berlin, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Ontario; and the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, Waterloo, Canada. Pierce was the 2015 recipient of the Laura Ciruls Painting Award administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation. Since 1996, she has received well over 20 Artist Grants including: Canada Council for the Arts Visual Artist Project Grant; Ontario Arts Council Visual Artist Grant – Mid Career; Toronto Arts Council Visual Artist Grant – Mid-Career; and Ontario Arts Council Community Outreach Grant, Sol Express, L’Arche. In 2009 Pierce was awarded honorable mention in the Eleventh Annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition.

Pierce’s exhibitions have been favorably reviewed in numerous publications such as Canadian Art magazine, Border Crossings, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough; The Donovan Collection, University of Toronto; Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank; RBC Collection; BMO Collection; and the TD Collection (Canada) and the Cleveland Clinic art collection (United States).




Born
Born 1974, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Lives and works in Toronto, Canada

Education
2004
Master of Fine Arts Degree, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario

1997
Bachelor of Arts Degree, Honours, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Artist in Residence

2016
Digital Painting Atelier, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario (Forthcoming)

2015
Visiting Artist Residency, Open Studio, Toronto, Ontario

2006
New Models For Abstraction, directed by Robert Linsley, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario

Exhibitions
Selected Solo Exhibitions

2018
New Works, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (Forthcoming)

2015
Starry Night, Open Studio, Toronto, Ontario

2013
Tessellations, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

2010
Shades of Time, ACME, Los Angeles, CA

2009
New Paintings, CTRL Gallery, Houston, TX

2008
Commingle, Greener Pastures Contemporary Art, Toronto, Ontario

2007
Affinity, Loop Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

2006
Click, Loop Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017
Underlying System Is Not Known, Western Exhibitons, Chicago, IL

2016
Konstructs, Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

2015
Common Thread, Mixed Greens Gallery, New York, NY

2014
Who’s Afraid of Purple, Orange, and Green?, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan (Curated by: Jennifer Matotek)
Der Garten der Pfade, die sich verzweigen II, Ballhaus Ost, Berlin, Germany

2013
The Thick of It, Mercer Union, Toronto, Ontario (Curated by: York Lethbridge)

2012
Paint as Object, Jeremy Hof and Sasha Pierce, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
Jessica Bradley Annex, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
trans/FORM, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), Toronto, Ontario (Curated by: David Liss)
Post, University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG), Waterloo, Ontario (Curated by: Ivan Jurakic)

2011
The Most She Weighed/The Least She Weighed, Susan Hobbs, Toronto, Ontario (Curated by: Jen Hutton)
Mo’Art Mo’Problems, MOCCA, Toronto, Ontario

2010
None-Identical Abstraction Engine, ACME, Los Angeles, CA (Curated by: Jan Tumlir)

2009
Showcase09, Cambridge Galleries, Cambridge, Ontario (Curated by: Ivan Jurakic)
Eleventh RBC Canadian Painting Competition, Power Plant, Toronto, Ontario
Eleventh RBC Canadian Painting Competition, Musée D’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Québec

2008
Retelling Anne, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario (Curated by: Dawn Owen)

2006
New Models for Abstraction, Hacienda Sarria, Kitchener, Ontario
Art: to ease crappy conversation, Loop Gallery (Curator), Toronto, Ontario

Selected Art Fairs

2016
Volta 12, Richard Heller Gallery, Basel, Switzerland

2015
Untitled, Richard Heller Gallery, Miami, FL
Expo Chicago, Richard Heller Gallery, Chicago, IL
Frieze New York, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Randall’s Island, NY
Papier15, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Montreal, Quebec

2014
Frieze New York, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Randall’s Island, NY

2012
Art Toronto, Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

2009
Art Toronto, 11th RBC Canadian Painting Competition Showcase, Toronto, Ontario

2008
UpART Fair, Greener Pastures Contemporary Art, Toronto, Ontario
NEXT Art Fair, Greener Pastures Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
New Art Dealers Alliance Art Fair (NADA), Greener Pastures Contemporary Art, Miami, FL

Publications
Selected Articles

2016
Sasha Pierce: Tessellations, Textiles and Illusionistic Space, Laura Mylott Manning, Arte Fuse, February 14

2015
The Art Market: Miami sobers up for business, Georgina Adam, Financial Times, December 4
Common Thread, Juliana Halpert, Critics’ Picks, Artforum, August
Warp and Weft: The Grid at Mixed Greens, Jonathan Stevenson, Two Coats of Paint, July 31

2014
Modern Women, Bart Gazzola, Magenta Magazine, Spring Issue

2013
Sasha Pierce: Tessellations, Kelly Jazvac, Canadian Art Online, December 17
Sasha Pierce at Jessica Bradley Projects, Murray Whyte, The Star, December 14

2012
“trans/FORM” at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art: Review, Murray Whyte, The Star, July 3
MOCCA Reflects Trending Return to Material Media with trans/FORM, Benjamin Bruneau, ArtInfo.com, June 28
Jeremy Hof and Sasha Pierce, Pete Smith, Canadian Art, Summer Issue, p. 120
trans/FORM: Matter as Subject > New Perspectives, at MOCCA, R.M. Vaughan, The Globe and Mail, July 14
trans/FORM & Shape of Things at MOCCA, Dick, Terence, Akimblog (akimbo.ca), July 10
Interview: Sasha Pierce, Barbara Isherwood, Rogers TV/ArtSyncca, January 27
Eye Candy – and food for thought, too, R.M. Vaughan, The Globe & Mail, February 4

2011
The Most She Weighed/The Least She Weighed, Editors, Magenta Magazine, Summer Issue

2010
Abstraction at ACME, Ed Schad, ArtSlant.com, January 12

2009
Sasha Pierce: New Paintings, Kelly Klaasmeyer, Houston Press, September 22
Where Emerging Artists Can Shine, Rebecca Tucker, The National Post, September 3, p. TO4
The Best and Brightest, Robert Reid, The Record, Kitchener, October 8

2008
Textural Piercings, Robert Enright, Border Crossings, Issue 105, Spring, p. 24
Sasha Pierce at Greener Pastures, Gary Michael Dault, The Globe and Mail, August 23, p. 28  

2006
Sasha Pierce brings together sculptures that go from silly to profound, David Jager, Now Magazine, December 14, p. 86
New Research in Abstraction Exhibition, Wojciech Olejnik

Selected Publications

2015
Thin Not Flat, Jazvac, Kelly, Open Studio, Toronto, Ontario
Who’s Afraid of Purple, Orange and Green, Matotek, Jennifer, Dunlop Art Gallery, Black Dog Publishing, London, UK
Reflections on the Legacy of Canadian Women Artists, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, Ontario

2013
A Cloude of Unknowing: On the Art of Sasha Pierce, Henderson, Lee, Old Mill Books, Kitchener, Ontario
RBC Canadian Painting Competition, Fifteen-Year Anniversary, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, Ontario

2012
Post, Ivan Jurakic, University of Waterloo, Toronto, Ontario
trans/FORM, David Liss, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), Toronto, Ontario
60 Painters, Sawtell, Scott, Lakeshore Arts, Etobicoke, Ontario
The Non-Identical Abstraction Engine, Tumlir, Jan & Linsley, Robert, Old Mill Books, Vancouver, British Columbia

2010
The Donovan Collection, Daniel Donovan, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, Ontario

2009
Retelling Anne, Owen, Dawn, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario
RBC Canadian Painting Competition, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto, Ontario

Awards
Awards and Grants

2015
Chalmers Art Fellowship – Research the art practice and writing of Anni and Josef Albers
Laura Ciruls Painting Award, Ontario Arts Foundation

2014
Visual Artist Mid-Career Grant, Ontario Arts Council
Visual Artist Mid-Career Grant, Toronto Arts Council

2012
Visual Artist Mid-Career Project Grant, Canada Council for the Arts
Visual Artist Mid-Career Grant, Ontario Arts Council
Visual Artist Mid-Career Grant, Toronto Arts Council
Community Outreach Grant, Sol Express, L’Arche, Ontario Arts Council

2010
Visual Artist Grant, Ontario Arts Council
Visual Artist Grant, Toronto Arts Council

2009
Honourable Mention Award, Eleventh RBC Canadian Painting Competition
Visual Artist Project Grant, Canada Council for the Arts
Travel Grant, panel discussion at ACME., Los Angeles, Canada Council for the Arts
Visual Artist Grant, Ontario Arts Council

2008
Exhibition Assistance Grant, Ontario Arts Council

2007
Exhibition Assistance Grant, Ontario Arts Council
OSEB Recipient (Visual Artist), Toronto Business Development Centre

2006
SSHRC and PREA Research Fellowship, directed by Robert Linsley, New Models For Abstraction
Exhibition Assistance Grant, Ontario Arts Council

2005
Exhibition Assistance Grant, Ontario Arts Council

2004
Faculty of Arts Graduate Scholarship, University of Waterloo

2003
Shantz Fellowship Scholarship, University of Waterloo
Sylvia Knight Graduate Award in Fine Arts, University of Waterloo
Faculty of Arts Graduate Scholarship, University of Waterloo
Senate Graduate Scholarship, University of Waterloo

1997
Gordon Couling Scholarship, University of Guelph

1996
Michael Scotchmer Scholarship, University of Guelph

Radio/Television
Video, July 23, 2012
Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada - Sasha Pierce talks about her art practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwq_ztMa85U

Collections
BMO Collection, Canada
Cleveland Clinic Art Collection, United States
Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank, Canada
The Donovan Collection, University of Toronto, Canada
Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada
RBC Collection, Canada
TD Collection, Canada

 


RICHARD HELLER GALLERY    phone:  310-453-9191   |   email:  art@richardhellergallery.com