Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann: Multitude
Marking Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann’s first solo exhibition in London, Multitude, on show from 27
June to 30 August at Kashya Hildebrand, presents a selection of the artist’s mixed media
paintings. Her works are often expansive in size, with the ability to take over an entire gallery
wall, an explosion of colours and shapes composed of woodcut, sumi ink, acrylic. In her newest
works, included here, she incorporates a further addition of silkscreen as a new medium, along
with a repetition of small elements, from which the exhibition draws its name.
Mann shows how patterned, highly wrought, decorative elements coalesce from the chaos and
contingency of an organic environment—and how they dissolve into that environment again. She
begins each piece with a stain of color, the product of chance evaporation of a puddle of ink and
water on the paper as it lies on the floor of the studio. Her method of creation is slow and
incremental, beginning with an initial pour of paint and then expanding, growing outwards. The
finished painting exposes the organic stain that she then paints around, sometimes collaging with
From this shape, she nourishes the landscape of each painting, coaxing from this organic
foundation the development of diverse, decorative forms: braids of hair, details from Beijing
opera costuming, lattice-work, and sequined patterns. As articles of adornment, these elements
are repeated until they too appear organic, even cancerous, as they at once highlight and
suffocate the underlying ink-stained foundation. Each piece holds a tension with the threat of
disunity and incoherence as nature and artifice spring from and merge into one another, and as
different elements multiply and expand like a metastasis. The works reference traditional
landscaping painting although in an abstract form.
Through this conflation of ideas – plants, bodies and diseases – her work explores a baroque
abstract: a celebration of the abundance of connections and clashes that can be found in the
disparate mess of matter in the world. As hybrids – life-sized fields punctuated by moments of
absurdity, poetry, mutation, growth and decay – the works revel in the sensuous and the
rambling, and intersperse the chaos with moments of neurotic control, suggesting not only the
potential for expansion, but also the threat of overabundance.
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann
Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann received her BA from Brown University and MFA from the Maryland
Institute College of Art. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to Taiwan, the AIR Gallery
Fellowship program in Brooklyn, NY, and the So-Hamiltonian Fellowship in Washington, DC.
She has attended residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Sky Dayton,
Vermont Studio Center, Salzburg Kunstlerhauss, Triangle Workshop, and Anderson Ranch Art
Center. Some of the venues where Mann has shown her work include the Walters Art
Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Rawls Museum, the US consulate in Dubai, UAE, and the US
embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mann is currently an instructor at the Maryland Institute
College of Art.