Margo Sawyer’s artistic practice investigates the relationship between space and transcendence: the places where architecture and ritual merge to create sublime qualities that encourage a state of contemplation within the viewer. The central actor in her work is color. In both site-specific installations and public art, Sawyer transforms mundane architectural structures into euphoric icons, joins exquisite objects and materials with domestic spaces, and converts large public spaces into intimate refuges. Sawyer’s art highlights the blend of the complex and unexpected where the physical, material, perceptual, and psychological effects of color interact.
Sawyer’s most celebrated works are Synchronicity of Color, Red & Blue (2008) at Discovery Green in Houston, Texas. These works transform two utilitarian structures into jubilant quilts of color, where the scale and physicality of colors draw you in. Synchronicity of Color, Red & Blue were honored in Public Art in Review (2009) by America for the Arts & Public Art Network for exemplary commitment and leadership in the field of public art, and the works soon became icons for the city of Houston. Sawyer’s art unites color in a way that celebrates and honors our multicultural/multidimensional world. Sawyer continues to research what makes a place sublime, and focuses on creating immersive structures that foster an awareness of the contemplative self.
Sawyer is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and career awards include: Fulbright Research Fellowship (India 1982-83) (Japan 1995-96), Rome Prize (1987), National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Individual Artists (1987), New York State Council for the Arts Grant for Public Art (1987), Grants Fund for Artists (1994) through the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts International for research in India and Myanmar, Japan Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship (1996), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001), Dora Maar Fellowship (2016) from the Brown Foundation & the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and in 2015 Sawyer was honored with the 52nd Texas Legislator Honor Texas Artist Laureate. Sawyer exhibits nationally and internationally in locations such as Japan, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, with solo exhibitions at Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo, Japan, Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, P.S.1 Museum, Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art, Houston, Barbara Toll Fine Arts, NYC and the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston. Sawyer has created many large public artworks in cities such as London, UK, New York City, and Indianapolis, Indiana. In the state of Texas, she has permanent artworks in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.
Sawyer received her M.F.A from Yale University and a B.A. Honors Degree from Chelsea School of Art in London, UK. She is a Professor of Sculpture & Extended Media in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.