LA Louver: Alison Saar - Topsy Turvy
Name: LA Louver: Alison Saar - Topsy Turvy
Date: March 28, 2018 - May 12, 2018
Venice, CA -- L.A. Louver is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar. Taking inspiration from the character of Topsy in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic Civil War-era novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Saar re-contextualizes the sprightly uncouth slave girl as a symbol of defiance, through paintings on dyed vintage linens and sculptures carved from wood.
“She was one of the blackest of her race,” writes Stowe of Topsy in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. “Her woolly hair was braided in sundry little tails which stuck out in every direction… there was something odd and goblin-like about her appearance.” In over a dozen works, Saar utilizes this literal characterization to figuratively transform the chastised and ill-mannered Topsy into a fearless girl-at-arms.
Alison Saar was born and raised in Laurel Canyon, California. Saar received her B.A. in studio art and art history in 1978 from Scripps College, Claremont, California. She went on to earn her MFA from Otis-Parsons Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). She has received three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1984, 1985 and 1988), and was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1989, the Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists in 2000, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in 1998 and the Joan Mitchell Artist in Residence in 2013. In 2012, the United States Artists Program named Saar one of 50 USA fellows. Select public works include: Monument to the Great Northern Migration (Chicago, Illinois), Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial (Harlem, New York) and Embodied (Los Angeles, California).