Sarah Stengle

I want my work to bite at the edges of complacency and denial, and at the same time flirt with conventional notions of beauty. Empathy, anger, and curiosity motivate me. I approach materials experimentally and unconventionally, and at the same time embrace aspects of old-fashioned stodge, such as symmetry and traditional handwork. Books to me are like bodies with minds, in that the interior is full of ideas that are only revealed through interaction. The genre of artist’s books allows for an intimate experience that includes touch. Book art has influenced all of my work, the drawings, the sculptures and the garment with texts all share aspects of my artist’s books. Like books, I am drawn to objects that directly relate to or imply direct interaction with the body such as tools and garments. Starting with familiar objects that are already laden with subtexts that relate to the viewer’s everyday life experience is the foundation of connecting my vision to the viewer’s experience. Intervening with the expectations connected to ordinary objects or familiar imagery through artistic intervention has been part of my practice for two decades.

Sarah Stengle is a visual artist who creates artist’s books, works on paper, wearable book art and sculpture. Her studio is in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She received a BFA in Metal-smithing from Carnegie Mellon University and and MFA in sculpture from the School of Visual Arts. She works with a wide range of media and in addition to the book arts, she has a long standing interest in mathematical art. She is on the advisory board of the Journal of Mathematic and Art, Thames and Hudson. Recently, together with artist/curator Maddy Rosenberg she co-curated Net Gain. This project paired Central Booking artists with mathematical nets resulting in a body of highly innovative artworks based on, or inspired by, geometric folded forms. In 2019 Stengle completed a series of 360 small drawings called “Postcards from Perga” that superimposed Apollonius of Perga’s proofs in Conics with conventional imagery not usually associated with mathematics. Her work is included in many collections including the Fogg Museum at Harvard, Yale’s Beineke Library, The Pierpont Morgan Library, the British National Library, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s rare book collection.

Sarah Stengle’s Website
Artist 1996 Interview

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