Sarah Hotchkiss looks for things: old board games, puzzle toys, books about optical illusions, maze collections, examples of scintillating graphic design. The looking is constant, but the finding happens most frequently at flea markets, in used bookstores and among neighborhood free piles. Sifting through others’ discarded belongings, Hotchkiss enacts a ritual familiar to many artists, equal parts scavengers and collectors. In the studio, that found material becomes source material. Elements of existing graphics are highlighted with the saturated colors of gouache paint until the resulting images, patterns and colors become shorthand for play.
Sleuth is a show of three paintings inspired by three individual items: a Parcheesi-like board game, a ghostly maze and a history book with an op-art cover. While previous works on panel approximated the scale of their source material, the paintings in Sleuth render printed material larger than life. A fourth painting, installed on Friends Indeed’s gallery floor, recommends a path through the show, encouraging a slightly roundabout approach to work rooted in time spent pleasurably and inefficiently.
Sarah Hotchkiss (B.A. Brown University, M.F.A. California College of the Arts) is a San Francisco-based artist and the senior associate editor for KQED Arts & Culture. Recent projects include a two-person show at Oakland’s Royal NoneSuch Gallery and Space Travel Sci-Fi Style, a performative lecture at the Exploratorium. Her work has been featured in the San Francisco Arts Commission’s public art program, and in group shows at Friends Indeed, San Francisco; Cheymore Gallery, Tuxedo Park; Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco; and Hunter East Harlem Gallery; New York. She has attended residencies at Skowhegan, ACRE and the Vermont Studio Center. She watches a lot of science fiction, which she reviews in the semi-regular publication Sci-Fi Sundays. In 2019 she received the Dorothea & Leo Rabkin Foundation grant for arts journalism.