Betye Saar | Personal Icons

Betye Saar | Personal Icons
Fri Jun 21, 1996 - Sat Aug 10, 1996

Women & Their Work proudly presents Betye Saar/Personal Icons, a compelling exhibition by an artist internationally recognized as a pioneer of assemblage and installation art.

On Friday, June 21 at 5:00 p.m. Betye Saar will give a lecture about her work at Women & Their Work, and an opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will also be a special brunch with Betye Saar featuring a delectable catered buffet and entertainment by jazz vocalist Corlis Calvin at the Victory Grill on Saturday, June 22 from 10:30 am- 1 pm.

Betye Saar draws inspiration from an eclectic mixture of sources, including religious iconography, technology, found objects, magic and folklore, to create enigmatic and spiritual works. Her use of folk and traditional African American craft techniques has influenced younger contemporary artists. In the
1960s and 70s, Saar’s art was directly concerned with social and political issues such as racism, sexism, and human rights violations. More recently, the artist has shifted from overtly political themes to investigations into metaphysics, memory, identity and personal history. Saar herself says, “There is an apparent thread in my work that originated in my prints in the 1960s and weaves through later collages and assemblages and into my current installations. This thread is a curiosity about the mystical. Personal Icons is the result of my conscious investigation of this thread.” 

Personal Icons incorporates everyday objects, computer parts, natural elements and sacred symbols to explore mysticism and its relation to personal and universal history and memory. This exhibition includes work from the late 1980s as well as more recent painted assemblages and installations. Pieces from the eighties include images created from discarded computer circuit boards combined with sacred and powerful objects from cultures worldwide.

The resulting mix of recontextualized spiritual iconography and high-tech and everyday objects suggests a dismantling of the dichotomies between the spiritual and the scientific, and the holy and mundane. Also included is “Wings of Morning,” an installation intended as a ritual space honoring Saar’s and all mothers.