For Sarah Kabot art making reveals gaps between the symbolic significance of objects, and the inert nature of the objects themselves. By creating replicas of common items and spaces she emphasizes shifts between original and reproduction. Her investigations respond to systems commonly accepted to imply “fact” but may indeed be inherently biased, including public memorials newspapers and libraries.
Kabot is currently examining the contemporary state of public memorial in light of international combat and domestic disputes regarding gun rights and gun violence. Initially, many monuments and military museums pay tribute to national power and/or function to instill communal sentiment. Over time, they can devolve into marginalized landmarks— their original meaning clouded or lost. How does this state-change reflect the ongoing vicissitudes of collective memory?
In Kabot’s most recent artworks, she creates three-dimensional replicas and carbon copy paper rubbings of these memorials, muddles their original intent. Here, the copy of a copy is an embodied double take – a tool used to compare, to weigh our assumptions and reveal the pre-existing artifice within accepted certainties—who are the heroes, the enemies and what is “right or wrong.” What begins as a faithful interpretation, chronicling the idiosyncrasies and deterioration in the aged source objects, is manipulated to overwrite and misalign assumptive truths.
For her Artship Olympia installation, Toll, Kabot used surplus carbon copy paper to make direct rubbings of the USS Olympia’s #1 five-inch gun. The rubbings imperfectly document small details on the gun’s surface- serial numbers, areas of deterioration, and components that have been carefully restored. Kabot pieced the rubbings together to create the foundation for a life-sized drawing of the weapon. The hangings presented on the ship replicate her drawing. Draped adjacent to the five-inch gun itself, they function as an embodied double take. The artwork provides an opportunity to look again at the details of the weapon, the use and significance of which has been widely neglected.
Toll presents a ghostly image of an artifact of war, the artwork’s patchwork aesthetic echoes the fragmentary nature of commemoration itself.
About the Artist
Sarah Kabot was born in Royal Oak, Michigan. Her work has been shown nationally and abroad, at institutions including The Suburban (IL), Smack Mellon (NY), the Akron Museum of Art (OH), the Museum of Contemporary Art (OH), the Drawing Center (NY), the Peabody Essex Museum (MA), Denny Gallery (NY), and Tegnerforbundet in Oslo, Norway. In 2013, she completed two large public art commissions in Ohio.
Recent honors include residencies at Dieu Donne Papermill (NY), a Swing Space residency through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NY), the Headlands Center for Art (CA), and UCross (WY). Her work is in the public collections of the West Collection, the Cleveland Clinic, and Progressive Insurance. Sarah has been the recipient of several grants and prizes including the 10th semi-annual Dave Bown Prize, a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship, and 2015 and 2010 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards. Additionally, her work has appeared in Sculpture Magazine, the New York Times online, and the Village Voice.
Sarah received her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design in 1998, and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2002. She is currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Drawing Department at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio.