While Jane Hammond made her reputation as a painter, this exhibition showcases her exceptional talents as a paper artist. More than fifteen years ago, the artist invented her own language based on 276 found images taken from a variety of print sources. She likens her process to a “semiotic genome project,”
underscoring the endlessly varied interactions between image and viewer, as well as the effects of context and connotation on the construction of meaning.
“My intention was to use the lexicon of the 276 images in ‘recombinant’ fashion—think DNA—and let myself make any kind of work of art I wanted with them,” says Hammond. “Beyond the intense connection for me to each individual work, I am committed to a conceptual process that I see as open, variable, de-centered, exploratory, and unpredictable.”
Regarding works such as Electric Kachina and Martin House Me, which she considers drawings, Hammond writes, “For me, these drawings are the visual equivalent of thinking out loud. They begin without a plan and end up as they are. You could call them free-associative, although it’s increasingly complicated as to what the word ‘free’ means in that context. They are built of different layers and techniques that happen sequentially, and each is an intuitive response to the images, signs and marks that are there. At some point all of these rhymes, skips, jumps, consonances, and dissonances hover together in a charged way. They are like flow charts. Thinking diagrams. And by thinking I mean everything—cognition, emotion, goosebumps.”
Jane Hammond: Paper Work was organized by the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue were made possible in part by the Lucy P. Eisenhart Fund, the Susan B. Weatherbie (class of 1972) Exhibition Development Fund, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum Friends of Art, and a generous grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.