On putting my unconscious firmly in its place, wherever that may be.
Looking back, I seem always to have seen creatures in clouds, figures in floorboards, gargoyles in knotholes.
The genesis for these paintings was a class exercise some years back. Our tutor had us place our hands inside paper bags, draw the contents, then make paintings based on the drawings. I was engaged by the challenge of representing an object perceived purely by touch. In trying to render a ‘truthful’ equivalent of a non-visual experience I began to seriously reconsider what constituted authenticity or accuracy in my own work.
My working method now is akin to doodling. Each new form evolves as I sketch/paint from a previous piece. The focus is on clarifying, investigating, or developing some aspect of the last — but when things are going well the painting often takes on a life of its own.
Midway through last year I took the plunge and hired space in a newly established artists' collective, Dornwell Studios, at Three Kings. Painting there is very different to painting at home. There are industrial noises from nearby industrial workshops, the scratches and rustles of roof-dwelling pigeons, occasional drumming rain or windy whistles. The comings and goings in the yard below (where the landlords run a self-storage business) add interest but seem unreal and removed one floor up. It feels like an art cocoon.
A different quality of light. Calm white walls, uncluttered dimensions that seem to encourage contemplative, unhurried focus. And the collective sense of purpose, care, determination that emanates from the other artists' studios. Opening the door to the studio is like greeting a beloved friend.
As a result I've become much more sensitive to how spaces influence and impact on their inhabitants.
The picture plane is often envisaged as a 'window' to an illusory space. Paintings inhabit another kind of conceptual place/space: culture. They populate and enrich our collective imaginative world. I think of successful paintings as the ones that carve out a little home in your head, making a place for themselves amongst all the other soft furnishings that come together to form each mental landscape.
To look carefully at a painting is to give it breathing space in heart or mind. You may even give it a soul.
Amy paints mainly in acrylic and mixed media. She works as a graphic artist, cartoonist and illustrator for The Aucklander community magazine. She has also recently begun tutoring cartooning evening classes at Artstation.
2008 A PAINTERS STUDIO *
2007 A PAINTERS PROGRESS *
(*Year-long part-time professional development courses for emerging artists)
1998 - 2000 BACHELOR OF GRAPHIC DESIGN
Auckland University of Technology
1990 - 1993 BACHELOR OF ARTS (major
subject Art History)
University of Auckland
And numerous part-time and evening classes with Artstation and University of Auckland.