AMANDA E GROSS

ART + DESIGN | GROSSDRAWS@GMAIL.COM

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ABOUT :

From my studio in Beacon, New York, I create acrylic paintings, pastel/charcoal drawings, embroideries, cards, and fine art prints, using re-purposed materials whenever possible. Originally from Mundelein, Illinois, I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and a Master of Arts in Teaching Art + Design Education from The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). I’m also a kombucha brewer, vegan hippie gardener (one of our garden beds, with my trellis/sculpture after the Rune for the Self is at left), catmom to Puma, Milo, and Aviv, occasional art teacher, and avid outdoorsperson. 

ARTIST STATEMENT for RECENT PAINTINGS :

Through my recent paintings, I speak with a deep reverence for nature, at the intersection of emerging internal/universal wisdom and the immediate external environment. Given the current climate crisis, and that humans’ positive responses are driven by both emotion and a familiarity with one’s local environment, my paintings are rendered in a joyous aesthetic and empowering sense of levity, featuring the big personalities of birds, mushrooms, trees, hills, and centenarian houses native to New York’s Hudson Valley, where I’ve lived since 2017.

An extension of my years focused on narrative portraiture, local animals and plantlife are re-contextualized as totems, confidently occupying the picture plane, and loosely referencing cultural myths, such as the Celtic Morrigan (crow) and Shawnee Wapiti (elk).  In larger scenes, static, human-made structures are dwarfed by landscapes full of celebratory dynamism. Washes of acrylic paint are the perfect vehicle to layer vibrant color to convey the wild and magical aliveness of nature, which are further heightened by bombastic sashays of white and electric salmon.  The process for each piece is loose and intuitive, detail often left out in favor of quick-moving shapes and impressions. Spontaneously applied layers also minimize the gap between thought and execution. Repurposed ceramic tile and wood are ideal surfaces, offering textures that are scratchable and porous, respectively. Because the pieces are relatively small (4.25x4.25 to 30x30), with paint stretching to the edge of the picture plane, they invite the viewer to enjoy immersive intimacy.

Acrylic paint on wood now has the respect once reserved for oil, evidenced by contemporaries such as Julia Shirar and Carrie Moyer. My work relates to painters who take a transcendentalist or anthropomorphizing approach to landscape (e.g. the Hudson River School, Emily Carr, Max Ernst, JRR Tolkien), and use bright, painterly compositions to serve social commentary (e.g. Kerry James Marshall). I’m also influenced by flora and fauna depictions from the Arts and Crafts movement (e.g. William Morris), artists who make functional sculptures to connect their audience to nature (e.g. Jenny Kendler, Jayson Fann), and the subversive fun of incorporating glitter and neon (e.g. drag queens, psychedelic rock). Archetypes such as the Native American concept of the Trickster are also useful in navigating the space between consciousness and unconsciousness, where my paintings - and our environmentally impactful choices - live.