Cabinet of Curiosities : Carol Armstrong w/ Sarah Stengle -
exhibit at Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark
Members of the Rutgers community and the general public are invited to view the early spring exhibition at the
John Cotton Dana Library, on the Rutgers-Newark campus - Cabinet of Curiosities: Carol Armstrong with Sarah
Stengle - Photographs, Photograms and Prose Pieces by Carol Armstrong, Strange Objects by Sarah Stengle, and
Curiosities made by Nature and Art from the Collections of Both Artists. The exhibition will run February 1 –
April 9, 2010 in the Dana Gallery on the first floor and the Dana Room on the 4th floor of the library.
The exhibition opening reception will be held Tuesday, March 9th 4-7pm in the Dana Room. For more information on
the reception, please contact Ann Watkins at
Drawing on the Renaissance
idea of the kunstundwunderkammer, or chamber of arts and wonders, the exhibition "Cabinet of Curiosities"
combines the photographic work, writing and object collection of Carol Armstrong with sculptures, books, drawings
and collages by Sarah Stengle. The latter (in eight of the cabinets) consist primarily of "strange objects" and
"useless tools" constructed of combinations of found and bought things—tool parts, taxidermy glass eyes, snippets
from old books, animal antlers and such—with hand-drawn, hand-knitted and felted pieces. The former (on the walls)
consist of camera-made landscape and still-life photographs; photographs of objects placed on the pages of natural
history encyclopediaea; direct object scans; scanned and printed cyanotypes (cameraless blueprint photograms);
together with a set of prose pieces called "Natures Mortes" ("Dead Natures" or "Still Lifes"); all seen at
different kinds of mediated remove from the objects themselves, mostly natural, some found and some bought, many
of which are to be found in three of the cabinets. Like the old chamber of arts and wonders, the exhibition
celebrates the strange and various "art" of nature, intertwined with that of human artifice, seeing their wondrous
fecundity and ingenious methods of production and reproduction in relation to one another.
Sarah Stengle makes sculptures, works on paper and artists' books. Her works often include found images or
objects, and these are used with abstractelements to create a psychological tension, or frison. Ms. Stengle lives
in Princeton, New Jersey and maintains a studio in Trenton. She studied metal-smithing at Carnegie-Mellon
University, and got her MFA in at the School of visual arts in 1988 in sculpture. She has exhibited regularly and
her work is included in the collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the
Pierpont Morgan Library among others.
Carol Armstrong is a writer, art critic and art historian at Yale University. In 2004, she co-curated the
exhibition Oceanflowers: Impressions of Nature with Catherine de Zegher at the Drawing Center in New York and
then at the Mellon Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. This show presented cyanotype albums and
prints by the Victorian woman Anna Atkins in the context of the history of natural-history illustration in print,
photograph, drawing and specimen collecting: ultimately the inspiration for Cabinet of Curiosities goes back to
that exhibition. Carol Armstrong has shown her photographic art work at Princeton University ("Pink," "Bodies of
Water," "Where the Water Meets the Land"), the Banco do Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, and the Museum of Art in Sao
Paulo, Brazil ("Where the Water Meets the Land," with Fernando Azevedo and Leonardo Kossoy). She and Sarah Stengle
collaborated on a handmade book of photographs and writings called Ophelia Suite, and on a photographic project
called "Bodies of Water."