To challenge myself and push the boundaries of drawing- my primary medium- I utilize a variety of materials and strategies in my art. Situating multiple drawings in conversation with each other and in larger, multi-layered installations has increasingly become how I conceptualize and produce a body of work. I employ collage, books, installations, animations, sound, light, and sites themselves to enhance the atmospheric and sensorial qualities of places and ideas. I aim to convey a rhythmic polarity between the grand and diminutive, the specific and impressionistic, what is known and what is sensed. The central question in my work is the nature of knowledge: “What is the relationship between knowledge learned, and that gained and intuited through our own senses?” In this age of easily accessible, proliferate, and often isolating digital information, I am passionate about the importance, and gratification, of relational and sensual experience; as well as art’s potential to provide such experience.
Even in my elaborately designed and constructed installations, drawing remains at the core of my art. Diverse media is integrated into my art to impart a heightened sensitivity to the world around us. The varied media and increasingly complex production values I bring to my exhibitions are in service to this elemental objective.
Artist Bio / CV
Antonia Contro received her BA from Northwestern University and her MFA from The University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was awarded the Faculty Prize for Graduate Study in Studio Arts.
One person exhibitions include Field Guide, a site specific show at Chicago’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2007; Closed and Open, a site specific installation at the Newberry Library, Chicago, 2006; Descry, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, 2002; Topographia, The Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 2002; and A-ZYM, the Wriston Art Museum at Lawrence University, 2005.
Select group exhibitions include the Block Museum/Northwestern University, Columbia University, The Chicago Cultural Center, Skidmore College, State of Illinois Museum, Rockford Art Museum, and many others. She shows with Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago.
Contro is in numerous collections including the Fogg Art Museum; Werner Kramarsky; New York Public Library, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Block Museum, Davis Museum/Wellesley College, The Illinois Sate Museum, Rockford Museum, Polaroid Corporation, and Motorola Corporation.
Contro was awarded an Illinois Art Council Fellowship in 2007 and a Rockefeller Fellowship in 2002. Newberry Library published her artist’s book, Closed and Open, in 2006.