April 19, 2022 | For immediate release
Kira Houston, Outreach Coordinator
828.350.8484 | kira@blackmountaincollege.org

Jo Sandman / TRACES

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
Asheville, NC | June 3 – September 3, 2022

Exhibition Page
Media Kit: https://bit.ly/3EuIooI

After a life-changing summer studying at Black Mountain College, Boston-based artist Jo Sandman decided to devote her life to art. At BMC during that pivotal summer of 1951, she studied painting with Robert Motherwell and Ben Shahn; drawing with Joseph Fiore, photography with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind; anthropology and French. It was this “galvanizing experience” at BMC that prompted Jo Sandman to decide to follow the path of an artist. She went on to develop and maintain a studio practice exploring painting, drawing, experimental sculpture, installation, and photography for more than sixty years. Her restless curiosity always led the way towards experimentation with a wide variety of imagery, materials, and processes.

After her summer at Black Mountain College, Sandman earned her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in 1952, and then reconnected with Abstract Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell at Hunter College in New York. She also studied with Hans Hofmann at the Hans Hofmann School of Painting in Provincetown, MA and again in New York City, where she served as registrar to help pay tuition expenses. During this time in New York, Sandman became a member of The Club, a legendary group of Abstract Expressionists and avant-garde artists and intellectuals who gathered to talk and argue about art and then adjourn to The Cedar Tavern after meetings. Sandman went on to earn graduate degrees from UC/Berkeley in 1954 and Harvard College in 1956 and subsequently worked for Walter Gropius at The Architect’s Collaborative (TAC).  In addition to maintaining a robust studio practice, she taught at Wellesley College and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and many other visiting artist posts. Jo Sandman’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, Asheville Art Museum, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Huntington Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Seattle Museum of Art, as well as college art museums at Bates, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Amherst, MIT, Mt Holyoke College, NYU, Rhode Island School of Design, Smith, UNC-Greensboro, and Wellesley. Sandman has received grants from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation as well as multiple fellowships and awards for her work.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Early abstract paintings made during and shortly after Sandman’s Black Mountain College experience
  • Two and three-dimensional drawings made from tar, burned paper, folded fabric, radiator hoses, and plaster
  • Collages using painters’ drop cloths, interior insulation foil, torn paper, paint, tar, and sandpaper
  • Photographic processes exploring human and animal structure, including the Light Memory portfolio
  • Multiple bodies of work are represented including: Folded Drawings, Tar Drawings, Tarp Series, Geo, Echoes from the Garden, Rubberworks, Artifacts of Air, Twice, Transmissions, and Light Memory
  • Correspondence and ephemera related to Sandman’s time at Black Mountain College
  • 32-page color catalogue includes an essay by Katherine French, curator of the Jo Sandman Legacy Project

Curated by Alice Sebrell, Director of Preservation (BMCM+AC)

Exhibition available to travel from January 2023 through January 2026. Contact BMCM+AC at info@blackmountaincollege.org to learn more.

Related Programs
Black Mountain College

Opening Reception for the Artist
June 3rd from 5:30 - 8PM
Celebrating the exhibition Jo Sandman / TRACES. This will be BMCM+AC's first opening reception in over two years, featuring the launch of the exhibition catalogue and a gallery talk with Curator of the Sandman Legacy Project, Katherine French.

Black Mountain College

Gallery Talk: Katherine French, Curator of the Sandman Legacy Project
June 3rd at 6:30PM
Katherine French, curator of the. Sandman Legacy Project, speaks on the artist’s time at Black Mountain College and its lasting impact on her life and career. Upon retirement as Director Emerita from the Danforth Art Museum in Framingham, MA, Katherine French moved to northern Vermont and is now curator for the Sandman Legacy Project helping to place work by the artist Jo Sandman in the permanent collection of museums across the country. Recipient of awards for curatorial excellence from the New England chapter of the International Association of Art Critics, she was named Best Curator of Locally Made Art at the Boston Art Awards and also now works as an independent curator to create exhibitions for Catamount Arts, the Vermont Arts Council and numerous others.

Black Mountain College

The Glyph
July 30th at 3PM + 7PM
Dancer and choreographer Polly Motley and pianist Yukiko Takagi perform “The Glyph," a playful work created by dancer Katherine Litz and composer Lou Harrison. The original performance at Black Mountain College was part of a Glyph Exchange with poet Charles Olson and painter Ben Shahn in the Summer of 1951 when Jo Sandman was in attendance. Commissioned in 2015 by ICA/Boston, Directed by Richard Colton.