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December 2, 2023 – February 17, 2024

Hawthorn Contemporary is pleased to announce the exhibition opening of Scissors is Our Love Language, featuring both collaborative and solo work by Chicago-based artists Diane Christiansen and Jessie Mott. 


The works in the exhibition were created throughout 2022-2023 in Christiansen’s studio. Working side by side most weeks, the artists accessed each other’s studio remnants—unfinished drawings, paintings that never quite came together, collage scraps— to create new works. Often, Christiansen and Mott would trade the pieces back and forth, trusting each other’s decisions to alter, transform, and sometimes eviscerate the original form. The resulting collages capture a spirit of playfulness alongside the tension of letting go. 


Their hybrid visual language often references a body in an abstracted space, creating small worlds wherein elements of humor and melancholy mingle. The dominant medium in both Christiansen and Mott’s practice is water-based media on paper and each has a history of working in animation, some of which will be screened in this exhibition. The artists are also practicing social workers, which they believe provides an added dimension to the heart and joy of their collaborative practice. 


Diane Christiansen is a visual artist, musician and social worker. Her interdisciplinary creative practice uses painting ,drawing , animation and large- scale installations to explore her fascination with impermanence, birth, death, decay and interconnectedness. Christiansen acknowledges life's essential impermanence as well as its durable illusion of solidity. In her worldview, all phenomenon are alive. Prehistoric cave paintings, Betty Boop cartoons and cracks in the sidewalk all prove that magic is everywhere. 

Collaboration has become an increasingly important part of her practice. Christiansen created BirthDeathBreath, an inflatable opera , with artist Jeanne Dunning that exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Elmhurst Art Museum, and the Armory in Pasadena. Works created with Detroit based Shoshanna Utchenik , including “Notes to Nonself ”was exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago,Herron Galleries, Indianapolis and in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Most recently, Christiansen has been collaborating with artist Jessie Mott on a series of collages and paintings that are slated for exhibitions throughout 2024. Christiansen has exhibited extensively across the United States and in Edinburgh Scotland and her animations have been shown worldwide. 

Jessie Mott is a Chicago-based visual artist whose practice focuses on themes of identity and power by exposing unstable perceptions of the queer body. Using an array of media such as painting, drawing, and animation, she gives life to creatures that negotiate permeable boundaries. She is best known for her watercolor drawings of hybrid creatures that explore a perverse fascination with the natural world. Bound up in desire, mourning, and anxiety, her work disrupts the margins of human and animal, abstraction and figuration, and interior and exterior worlds. Mott's work has been exhibited widely, most recently with Diane Christiansen at Hawthorn Contemporary in Milwaukee, WI; with queer scholar and writer Chantal Nadeau via their collaboration Like Queer Animals at the Epiphany Center for the Arts in Chicago, IL; and collaborative animations with artist and writer Steve Reinke, including International Film Festival Rotterdam, VIDEOEX International Experimental Film & Video Festival in Zürich and the Whitney Biennial in New York City. Mott has also participated in numerous art residencies, group and solo shows throughout the United States and abroad. Mott received a B.S. from New York University and an MFA from the department of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University. 

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