2018 Guggenheim Fellow
Margo Sawyer's artistic practice investigates the relationship between space and transcendence; the places where architecture and ritual converge to create transcendent qualities that encourage a state of contemplation within the viewer. The central actor in her work is color. Sawyer's practice bridges site-specific installations and public art to transform mundane architectural structures into euphoric icons, join exquisite objects and materials into domestic spaces, and turn large public spaces into intimate refuges. Sawyer's art unites the complex and unexpected, where the physical, material, perceptual, and psychological effects of color interact.
Sawyer's most celebrated works are Synchronicity of Color, Red & Blue (2008) at Discovery Green in Houston, Texas. These works transform two utilitarian structures into jubilant quilts of color, where the scale and physicality of colors draw you in. Synchronicity of Color, Red & Blue was honored in Public Art in Review (2009) by America for the Arts & Public Art Network, for exemplary commitment and leadership in the field of public art, and the works soon became an icon for the city of Houston. Sawyer's art unites color in a way that celebrates and honors our multicultural/multidimensional world. Sawyer continues to research what makes a place sublime, and focuses on creating immersive structures that foster an awareness of the contemplative self.
Sawyer received numerous grants and awards including: Fulbright Research Fellowship (India 1982-83) (Japan 1995-96), Rome Prize (1987), National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Individual Artists (1987), New York State Council for the Arts Grant for Public Art (1987), Grants Fund for Artists (1994), through the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts International for research in India and Myanmar, Japan Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship (1996), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001), Dora Maar Fellowship (2016) from the Brown Foundation & the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and in 2015 Sawyer was honored by the 52nd Texas Legislator Honor Texas Artist Laureate. Sawyer exhibits nationally and internationally in locations such as Japan, India, Italy, United Kingdom and the United States, with solo exhibitions at Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo, Japan, Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, P.S.1. Museum, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, NYC and the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston. Sawyer has created many large public artworks cities such as London, UK, New York City, and Indianapolis, Indiana. In the state of Texas, she has permanent artworks in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.
Sawyer received her M.F.A from Yale University and a B.A. Honors Degree from Chelsea School of Art / London, UK. She is a Professor of Sculpture & Extended Media in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, and is represented by Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas, Texas.
Mirrored stainless steel, stainless steel ball bearings, yellow zinc on steel, cast acrylic, blown glass, bamboo, gold leaf, kiri wood diamond grid, paint, Japanese silver leaf on wood, mirror, textured mirror, and colored hand blown plate glass
Installation 2017-2018 Holly Johnson Gallery
116 x 336 x 20 inches
© Margo Sawyer. Courtesy of Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas