Monday, May 22, 2006

Artist of the Week (06/22/05): Special

A little over a year ago I posted the first artist of the week on my dear friend, the New York-based painter, Amanda Church. In honor of her solo exhibition "Liquid Love" at Michael Steinberg Fine Art, which opens this Thursday, I'm updating that post as an Artist of the Week Special.

Although I'm not going to shy away from promoting my own artists on this blog, I'm also going to highlight and critique the work of other artists. Just because someone is selected as the "artist of the week" doesn't necessarily mean I'll have generous things to say about the work (and I'll encourage any commenters to take the same tough love approach [OK, so the love hasn't been all that tough, what can I say? I'm a soft-hearted artists lover]). I will endeavor, however, to highlight the work of artists who are perhaps "underappreciated."

To get the ball rolling, I want to discuss briefly the work of a good friend of mine: Amanda Church. She's represented in New York by Michael Steinberg Fine Art and in Boston by Clifford-Smith Gallery. [which has since closed, Rob and Jim promise to return in some format soon though]. Here's one of the paintings [from her new exhibition]:

Amanda Church, Society's Children, 2004, oil on canvas, 72" X 80"

Here's another:

Amanda Church, Tangled Web, 2006, oil on canvas, 72" x 80"

Amanda's work has been called psychosexual, so if you think you're seeing naughty things when looking at it, you're not necessarily crazy. Amanda's forms are abstracted from body parts, pop icons, kitschy images, and more recently text. Her greatest achievement, IMO, is her palette. Amanda's one of the most amazing colorists working today. Her choices are constantly innovative and her taste is flawless.

I bought a piece by Amanda at a benefit long before I met her. I now am the happy owner of several of her pieces, and one that resides at the foot of my bed makes me as happy as anything else in my collection when I contemplate it. There's a mature joy of life in this work and just enough silliness to charm me even in my darkest hours.

Here's a snippet from the press release for her new exhibition:

This body of work -- the artist's most exuberant and largest scale to date --continues her exploration of the newxus of Pop and pleasure.

At times evoking senuous sea creatures, at others tropical foilage, these body-inspired shapes tease us into squareing private yearnings with public personas. They wrestle and vie for attention; they caress and nestle against each other. But mostly they encourage each viewer to put his or her own emotions on the line within the psychological arena the artist has created.

Art critic Sarah Schmerler comments:

"That Chruch can render her forms familiar, yet ever hard to pin down, is proof of her power an an abstractionist. There's a strange, inverse-ratio at work: the more she pares down her composition, the more they are about a senuous pure viewing pleasure."

Here's another sneak peek at Amanda's new work:

Amanda Church, Flash Point, 2006(?), oil on canvas, 72" X 80"

It's been a true pleasure to watch Amanda's work evolve. Each year it's become more complex and sophisticated, while maintaining that joyous edge that attracted me to it in the first place. But don't take my word for how great Amanda is...go see the exhibition!


Anonymous martin said...

these look very good.

5/22/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Mountain Man said...

Amanda's work is so buoyant and alive, I can't wait to see her show. Squeezy sexy shapes.

5/22/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous onesock said...

I love the humor in these. Fantastic lines and color. I would love to wake up to one of these at the foot of my bed-it would be kinda like waking up to saturday morning cartoons as a kid (i miss that feeling).

5/22/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...


congradts amanda

can't wait to see your work at the opening and have unlimited saki :P

5/22/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger serena said...

You know, Ed, I see everything you're saying about the palette, the form, the complexity, the ingenuity, and the jolliness. But still I find them deeply disturbing, as though I'd gotten permanently snared in the Grinch's endlessly morphing glove. The insistence on flatness of form and color makes me feel like I've entered a world where the very existence of depth--physical, intellectual, or spiritual--is utterly denied. Frankly, they freak me out. If one of them were at the foot of my bed, I'd have nightmares.

I suppose this is just the difference between my temperament and yours. People really do resonate at radically different frequencies.

5/22/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

decorative, meaningless flacid penis paintings- I agree, nightmarish.

5/22/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

i find them really ugly, and medicore, not nearly as good as sue williams or cecily brown or inka essenhigh or any of the painting and decoration schools from the 70s...

though its alot better then elizabeth murrary

5/23/2006 02:23:00 AM  
Anonymous preacher's daughter said...

These paintings are subtle, disorienting, clever, gorgeous and elegant. They are a relief--way more important in their contribution than some of the other painters mentioned. You cannot understand Art from a four inch square on the web. Go see the work.

5/23/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

i will, (though i still think sue williams is the most under rated painter working today)

5/24/2006 12:51:00 AM  

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