On June 22, 1956 Ann Hamilton was born. She was raised in Ohio and still lives there today with her husband, Michael Mercil, who is an artist as well. She graduated with a degree in textile design at the University of Kansas and an MFA in sculpture at Yale. She began to grow as a visual artist in the 1980’s and is known for her large-scale multimedia installations. She has also taught in the art department in California and in Ohio. Through her life she became fascinated with reading, the relationship between things, photography, and performance. "I read a lot of books. The reading is not only to gather information but looking for the way a thing is said. I don't have a studio. Reading is my main process when I'm not on site on a project” Ann Hamilton told Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. These elements that struck her interest, along with the talents from her degree, made her the wide ranged artist she is today.
In 1989, Ann Hamilton collaborated with Kathryn Clark for an installation called palimpsest, which was part of the larger exhibition “Strange Attractors: Signs of Chaos." The installation was created in two part, in two different rooms in the exhibition. In a display window facing outside The New Museum of Contemporary Art, the first display of palimpsest was shown. The walls were covered with block-printed texts that used shoe polish as ink. In the center, a tall stool was placed under a broken wire and a felt hat sat on the stool covered in beeswax and graphite. In the second room inside, the air was turned on high and the smell of the beeswax filled up the room. Covering the walls were small pieces of newsprint with memories written on them. With the air on high, these pieces of paper shook and fluttered. In the center of the room was a display case with 2 cabbages inside, slowing being eaten by snails. This installation was intended to show the visitors the loss of memory and the memories we experience.
In the summer of 1994, at the Ruth Bloom Gallery in Santa Monica, California, Ann Hamilton came out with a book series. Her performance piece, lineament, consisted only of plywood walls, a seat, table, light projector, and a woman cutting strips of text out of a prepared book and winding them, creating a ball of text. In front of the woman lays all of the balls of text on the table and the book she is cutting from. These balls turned into unfinished letters. “The piece aimed to link the process of breaking text and making it into a textile” (Drohojowska-Philp). This shows the process of an artist and the visitor can see the process through her silhouette on the wall from the projector. Before the installation, Ann Hamilton pre-cut the pages of the books into strips so they can just be torn out and balled together more easily during the installation. The act of destroying about 40 books to create something new is a bold statement; watching her do this over and over again enhances the meaning of it into something much greater.
Today, Ann Hamilton continues to share her talents today. Her most recent project, Side by Side, was shown at the Contemporary Textile Art Biennial in Guimarães, Portugal in 2018. Not only does she live for telling stories, but she aches to hear the stories of those that she crosses paths with.
Ann Hamilton studio. Web. 8 April 2019. https://www.annhamiltonstudio.com/projects/projects.html
"Ann Hamilton and Kathryn Clark: palimpsest." New Museum, 1989. Web. 8 April 2019. https://archive.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/2323
"Ann Hamilton." Art21. Web. 8 April 2019. https://art21.org/artist/ann-hamilton/
Drohojowska-Philp, Hunter. "ART : It Ain't Needlepoint : Ann Hamilton does old-fashioned women's work--ironing, weaving and knitting. But, if you're expecting Home Ec 101 from her installations, you'd better get out of the gallery." Los Angeles Times, 19 June 1994. Web. 8 April 2019. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1994-06-19-ca-5936-story.html