Jo Sandman / TRACES

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After a life-changing summer studying at Black Mountain College, Boston-based artist Jo Sandman decided to devote her life to art. At BMC during that pivotal summer of 1951, she studied painting and drawing with Robert Motherwell and photography with Harry Callahan, along with classes in anthropology and French, and was exposed to the ideas of faculty artists Ben Shahn and Joe Fiore as well. It was this “galvanizing experience” at BMC that prompted Jo Sandman to decide to follow the path of an artist. She went on to develop and maintain a studio practice exploring painting, drawing, experimental sculpture, installation, and photography for more than sixty years. Her restless curiosity always led the way towards experimentation with a wide variety of imagery, materials, and processes. After her summer at Black Mountain College, Sandman earned her BFA in fine art from Brandeis University in 1952, and then reconnected with Abstract Expressionist painter Robert Motherwell at Hunter College in New York. She also studied with Hans Hofmann at the Hans Hofmann School of Painting in Provincetown, MA and again in New York City, where she served as registrar to help pay tuition expenses. During this time in New York, Sandman became a member of the legendary artists’ group The Club and frequented The Cedar Tavern where the Abstract Expressionists and avant-garde poets gathered to drink, talk, and argue about art. Sandman also studied at The Art Institute of Chicago and, in addition to maintaining a robust studio practice, she taught at Wellesley College, The Art Institute of Chicago, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and many other visiting artist posts. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Rhode Island School of Design, among others. She has received grants from the NEA and the Rockefeller Foundation as well as multiple fellowships and awards for her work.

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