Ambrin Ling ’16
Studio Art Major
Based in Chicago, IL

“Utilizing unconventional fine arts apparatuses that include watercolor paint, grass stains and pulp, cast recycled paper, and appropriated texts from mass-produced objects, my work explores belonging, place, and the formation of selfhood. In particular, my works on paper — what I conceptualize as expanded drawing — trace those often erased within historical Western landscape and portrait traditions as well as under-recognized in the production of mass-consumed goods and services: women of color.

“Through re-formulating the traces of gendered and racialized persons in food stuffs and scenes of natural beauty, objects of complacency and easy sensory enjoyment, I attempt to re-frame the ways in which women of color engage with power and desire as ambiguous, porous, and ultimately disruptive.”

Professional Life Post-Carleton


  • Vermont Studio Center Residency and Merit Scholarship


  • University of Kansas Artist’s Residency


  • Earned MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Elizabeth Greenfield’s Fellowship
  • Chapman Cultural Center Artist’s Residency


  • Ragdale Center Residency
  • Illinois Collegiate Press Award

Favorite memory of life at Carleton

“One of my treasured memories of Carleton and the Art and Art History department is a memory of space. As a student, I spent much of my time in the new Weitz Center for Creativity. I recall sitting in the lounge area and enjoying tea and a baked good as the natural light changed through the immense glass windows; I recall immersing myself in still-life drawings, paintings, and sculptures on the upper-floor; and I recall having critiques, classes, and conversations with Dan and Fred over the years in that space, which to me bears strong associations with the smell and texture of charcoal, the feel of paper in a handmade artist book, and the slow passing of time making work.”

Favorite memory of studying with Dan Bruggeman and Fred Hagstrom

“Dan was one of my first art professors at Carleton. One of my most valued takeaways of studying with Dan was learning how to love talking about art. While I enjoyed the act of drawing prior to Carleton, Dan taught me how to relish speaking of my own work as well as others’, putting it to verbal language.

“During one of our independent studies, Dan introduced me to Derrida and his idea of the trace in drawing. Derrida, a postmodern French philosopher, was immediately startling and strange to me. However, what allowed his text to resonate with me was the way in which Dan engaged not didactically, but earnestly and personally with the philosopher’s ideas of touch and memory and perception as a part of his drawing process, to which I branched my own.

“Our roaming art conversations about art as it tied to projects, life, being with others and our personal identities were invaluable as I entered an interdisciplinary MFA program and engaged with peers, professors, and visiting artists, and then when I led my own critiques and classes as a professor. 

“While many of my favorite memories with Fred center around my experiences studying in New Zealand and Australia, one of my most precious experiences with him was learning to make artist books. In preparation for studying abroad, Fred walked students through the craft of using book board, buckram, glue, and thread to create beautiful and sturdy artist books.

“After my study abroad ended, I would still attempt to hone my craft of making artist books and later containers for artist books and works on paper, including clamshell boxes. Fred forgave me even as I left residual newsprint and yardsticks about the printmaking studio from my nightly practice. His teaching me to push my love and engagement with the artist book as material thing and narrative have heavily impacted my ongoing works that attempt to connect my studies of gender, race, and migration to the craft of handmade papers and text-based as well as visual works.”