MIXED MEDIA ARTWORK BY KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN
CHALLENGES THE WAY WE REPRESENT THE NATURAL WORLD
Taiwanese-American artist Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann captures the tension between the artificial
and the organic in new acrylic paint and ink-based works on paper
Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Water Ribbon, a
solo exhibition of new works on paper by Washington, D.C.-based artist Katherine Tzu-Lan
Mann, on view from September 8th – October 6th, 2021. Featuring a collection of recent pieces
by the artist, the exhibition offers an evocative perspective on contemporary ecologies during a
time at which environmental destruction and the consequences of climate change loom ever
larger. Utilizing acrylic, sumi ink, and collage, Mann draws from traditions of Chinese landscape
painting to create mesmerizing, vibrant depictions of organic matter.
Mann begins her process by pouring liquid pigments onto paper, allowing them to dry and
yielding a stain of color from which the work is then based. Through an embrace of the
indeterminate qualities of her materials—the ink or paint takes its own course, without the artist
dictating its shapes or forms—Mann demonstrates a symbiotic relationship to her materials that
serves as an apt metaphor for coexistence with the natural world. What results from Mann’s
subsequent additions to the paper are rich, layered tableaus imbued with an affective interplay of ideas.
Of the challenges posed by her recent work, Mann describes her rumination upon “the
resuscitation of landscape painting in a world where ‘landscape’ is represented and defined
through an ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms.” At times almost dizzying, the
pieces shown in Water Ribbon eschew Western conventions of spatial perspective and inert
figuration, instead embracing qualities of movement and monumentality central to Chinese
landscape painting traditions.
Bright hues and a multiplicity of patterns are nestled among Mann’s illustrations of flora and
fauna, with streams of ink evoking vines and riverbeds. Lying in the tension between the artificial
and the organic, Mann’s renderings suggest an intertwining of systems rather than a constant
grappling for control or domination. Splashes of ink seep across each image, traversing various
shapes and forms. Elsewhere, translucent swathes of paint filter views of plant life, appearing like
stained-glass windows through which to gaze. “In my most recent work, I hope to live in the
tradition of landscape painting, experiencing it for what it has always been: an occasion for
radical experimentation and confrontation with the world, in the broadest sense of the term that
sustains us,” said Mann. Amongst all the chaos and beauty, Water Ribbon proposes a mode of
coexistence attuned to change, reciprocity, and an honoring of diverse forms of life.
About KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann received her BA from Brown University and MFA from the Maryland
Institute College of Art. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to Taiwan, the AIR Gallery and
Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Fellowships in New York, NY, and the Individual Artist
Grant, Arts and Humanities Grant, Mayor’s Award and Hamiltonian Fellowship in Washington, DC.
She has attended residencies at Wassaic Project, Mass MoCA, Virginia Center for the Creative
Arts, Blue Sky Dayton, Vermont Studio Center, Salzburg Kunstlerhaus, Triangle Workshop,
Anderson Ranch Art Center, Bemis Center for the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program,
Facebook, and the Jaipur, India Carbon 12 Residency. Some of the venues where Mann has
shown her work include the Academy Art Museum, Walters Art Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art,
Rawls Museum, the US consulate in Dubai, UAE, and the US embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Mann has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2017.