Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam, 2004
Photo: Hester + Hardaway

Jessica Stockholder
Sam Ran Over Sand
or Sand Ran Over Sam
16 September - 31 October 2004

Rice Gallery’s fall 2004 exhibition season opened with a site-specific work by Jessica Stockholder. This will be the internationally acclaimed artist’s first solo installation in the United States in eight years. Stockholder, who is Director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture at Yale University, is known for large-scale spatial constructions characterized by highly imaginative, sometimes hilarious, combinations of objects united by broad planes of brilliant color. The artist was named in a recent ARTnews cover story as “one of the most sought-after installation artists working today.”

Jessica Stockholder uses the most basic principles of art - formal elements such as composition, color and line - to create complex three-dimensional environments. Her approach to installation draws upon her acute spatial awareness that grew out of her experience of the landscape of Vancouver, Canada, where she lived as a child. “The way the water meets an island, or another piece of land, and forms a horizon line below the one made by the tops of the mountaintops meeting the sky - that particular horizon line has something to do with the kind of space that I am interested in,” she notes. Boundaries play a significant role in each of Stockholder’s installations, as found and new materials - everyday objects such as shower curtains, yarn, refrigerator doors, linoleum, carpet, and furniture - are brought into relationship to one another and the space where the work is sited. In her landmark installation Your Skin in this Weather Bourne Eye - Threads & Swollen Perfume (Dia Center for the Arts, New York, 1995) for example, Stockholder incorporated the gallery’s square support pillars, revealing how their edges echoed elements found in the windows, radiators, floor, and ceiling; thus, what could have been an obtrusion or limitation was used as a framing device. The exuberant, yet tightly unified composition included a shocking-green linoleum path, a plywood shelf jumbled with illuminated thrift store lamps, stacks of purple egg crates, a canopy of banana-yellow electrical cords, and a plywood platform of stuffed white button-down shirts painted with squares of orange, blue and green.

Stockholder givers her installations enigmatic titles such as On The Spending Money Tenderly (Kunstsammlung Nordheim-Westfalen, 2002-03), With Wanton Heed and Giddy Cunning Hedging Red and That’s not funny (Centre for Visual Arts, Cardiff, 1999) and Torque, Jelly Role, and Goose Bump (Musée Picasso d’Antibes, France, 1998). These poetic namings are in keeping with her overall desire to achieve many narratives without one definite conclusion. “I like the title to work alongside the piece rather than lead [the viewer] down a path,” she notes. Rice Gallery’s installation and its title will be a surprise; as can be said of each of Jessica Stockholder’s works, it will be part of life, but also a joyful disjuncture in the known world - a moment to experience “what art is all about.”

Sam Ran Over Sand or Sand Ran Over Sam will be presented simultaneously with Jessica Stockholder, Kissing The Wall: Works, 1988-2003, organized by Blaffer Gallery, The Art Museum of the University of Houston and The Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The exhibition at Blaffer Gallery will be on view 18 September - 21 November 2004. The two exhibitions at Houston’s university galleries will comprise the first comprehensive look at Jessica Stockholder’s work.


Jessica Stockholder was born in 1959 in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She received a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver in 1982, and in 1985, a MFA in sculpture from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Stockholder has exhibited work in a variety of media including installation, painting, sculpture, photographs, and prints, both nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Table Top Sculpture (2003), Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York;TV Tipped Toe Nail & the Green Salami (2003), capcMusée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France; Vortex in the Play of Theatre with the Real Passion (for Kay Stockholder) and Pictures at an Exhibition (2000), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland. Recent work featured in group shows include Bird Watching (2001) in Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico Gelatinous Too Dry (2000) in In the Beginning was MERZ, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany; and Pictures at an Exhibition (2000) in Apparent Things: Painting with Things, Haus der Kunst, Munchen, Germany. Her work is in numerous public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; The British Museum, London; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her career is the subject of the monographs Jessica Stockholder, Kissing The Wall: Works, 1988-2003 (2004, Marquand Books, Inc., Seattle) and Jessica Stockholder (1995, Phaidon Press, Ltd., London). Jessica is Director of Graduate Studies in Sculpture at Yale University and lives and works in Connecticut with her husband and son. She is represented by Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York.