Dialogue with a Collection: Susan Yard Harris and Edda Renouf
UMass University Museum of Contemporary Art (151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA 01003, Amherst MA)
**Dialogue with a Collection: Susan Yard Harris and Edda Renouf** is part of an ongoing exhibition series at the UMCA, where work by local artists is juxtaposed with works from the museum’s works-on-paper collection of more than 3,800 contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs. This year, drawings by Susan Yard Harris are installed alongside prints by Edda Renouf from the UMCA’s collection. The exhibition explores the formal and conceptual concerns that parallel both artists’ work, exploring texture, structures, and the very process of making art.
Susan Yard Harris creates rhythmic, all-over compositions from which larger forms appear to emerge — testing both the limits of our perception and our expectations about abstraction. The hand-drawn gestures suggest particles, matter, energy, or simply marks on a white surface as obsessively rendered visible traces. Her drawings are atomized marks gathered into subtle, atmospheric fields and texture. Seen together, her drawings equate macrostructure and microstructure — metaphors for very large, very small, or remote environments, with titles often evoking nature or alluding to personal events. This will be western Mass artist Susan Yard Harris’ first museum exhibition.
Edda Renouf’s meditative tactile work is based on a deep engagement with her materials. Attention is drawn to chromatic subtlety and pared down markings, the lyricism of her forms, and her exploration of process. Her five prints from the portfolio “Overtones” in this exhibition are examples of sharp incisive imagery with variations and combinations of an overall tonality. In each instance the technique is appropriate to the effect desired. Engraving and hard ground etching produce the sharp biting angular incisions, while aquatint produces the soft over all ground color. The richness and deep saturation of color show an ability to create a subtle wholeness in which the minute detail as well as the totality are immeasurable.
Edda Renouf was born in Mexico and resides in the US. Her work is held in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Pompidou; and the British Museum. Major museum exhibitions have included a 1997 retrospective at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Revealed Structures, a 2004 exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. She is represented by Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York.