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On the Spot! - Re:Calculations: Arlene Stamp's Tilings


(L) Arlene Stamp, A-Line: Marvelite, 1991, vinyl tile on Masonite and aluminum; (R) A-Line: Aurora, 1991, vinyl tile on Masonite and aluminum. Art Gallery of Alberta Collection, gift of David Stamp and Emily Menezes, 2012. Installation view of Re:Calculations, 2019.

Arlene Stamp’s early studies in mathematics have greatly influenced her artistic practice. In these works from her “Tilings” series, Stamp used a mathematical formula to generate arrangements of non-repeating patterns in various colours. Her interest in logic, patterns and geometry, as well as the application of complex mathematical formulae, is visible in the grid-like pattern and subtle colour variations of the tiles that she has used to make these works. In Stamp’s “Tilings (A-Line)” series, the artist uses commercial floor tiles, instead of traditional paint on canvas, thereby blurring the line between abstract painting and sculpture, and “artwork” and industrial product.

Stamp came of age as an artist when there were many shifts in attitude in the art world. Feminism was gaining ground during an exciting, volatile and confusing time. Many female artists were claiming that “decorative” arts and handicraft, which were assumed/assigned to be woman's work, were legitimate methods of artistic expression. Meanwhile, other women artists were rejecting these traditionally female mediums and expanding ways of approaching the pictorial surface. Arlene Stamp's work is concerned with that pictorial plane/surface.

March 22, 2020


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