Samantha Bittman

SAMANTHA BITTMAN (b. Chicago, IL) is a Brooklyn-based artist who specializes in crafting vibrant, geometrical paintings on woven canvas. Long fascinated with the process and history of weaving, along with ideas of perception and abstract painting, Bittman’s works engage the viewer with their opticality. While observing the work, various shapes, lines, and patterns will come into view while others will shift to the background.

Bittman’s process starts with weaving brightly colored commercially available and hand-dyed yarns of multi-hued gradations using a 12-harness floor loom, these weavings then become her canvas supports for painting. Once stretched, she uses the underlying patterning as a starting point to work intuitively. Bittman applies carefully matched paints to copy and invert the existing underlying woven pattern, adding yet another level of pictorial and compositional complexity. The resulting woven paintings are visually arresting and transfixing—requiring a moment of reflection, in order to completely digest what is in front of the viewer.

Recent works compel the viewer to slow down and engage in looking, scanning the surfaces for patterns and irregularities articulated through the repetition of color and form. By combining mediums, Bittman forces viewers to contemplate what it is that they are seeing both formally and materially; is this a painting, weaving, or perhaps even a digital work?

Bittman has said that one of her favorite things about weaving, “…is the relationship between parts to the whole, and the way that the individual threads weave together to create a picture. This way image and structure are one and the same.” These complex works reveal themselves to be multidimensional, what at first glance appears to be part of the fabric actually turns out to be a painting.

Bittman has participated in residency programs at the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation, Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Ox-Bow School of Art, and is currently an artist-in-residence at Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, NY. In 2012, she received the Artadia Award. Recent solo exhibitions include, Ronchini, London, UK; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago, IL; Morgan Lehman, NY, NY; and Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. She has been included in numerous group exhibitions including David Castillo, Miami, FL; Shane Campbell, Chicago, IL; and Rhona Hoffman, Chicago, IL. Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Wall Street International, and The Washington Post, amongst others.