Linssen on the palimpsest process
Dalia Linssen (Lecturer, History of Art + Visual Culture) presented at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Art History Symposium, Palimpsest: The Layered Object.
Palimpsest: The Layered Object explores the relations between aesthetic inscriptions, erasures, and the historical conditions of their media, whether drawing, film, incunabula, painting, print, sculpture, textiles, architecture or urban space. Participants sought to mine history, excavate knowledge and find meaning in the residue between layers of creation. The symposium included interdisciplinary contributions that explored the beginning of inscription as well as the remains of its erasure.
Linssen’s presentation was titled Layered Traces: the Palimpsest Process in the Works of Jo Sandman. Boston artist Jo Sandman has spent much of her career delving into the spiritual facets of art making, a pursuit inspired by Abstract Expressionists Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann with whom she studied. Sandman’s most recent work extends her interest in the ephemeral through the conceptual framework of palimpsest. Built up using a range of media from photocopies and transparencies to drawings, x-rays and digital files, Sandman’s recent works reveal quiet, haunting meditations on mortality, perception, and memory. This paper analyzes the use of palimpsest in Sandman’s series Light Memory and Transmission to map a theoretical dialogue between notions of photographic indexicality and the improvisatory qualities that characterize Abstract Expressionism.