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Featured Artist | Amy Meyer

Meadows Of Gaia No 3

Amy Meyer has presented paintings in numerous exhibits at Sager Braudis Gallery over the years. Her work graces the collections of many of our clientele, and will be familiar to all who visit the gallery regularly. A remotely-experienced, online-exclusive exhibit, though – this is a new one. Meyer’s beautiful new series, Meadows of Gaia, can currently be found on the gallery website, Artsy, and featured on our social media thought the month. She answered a few questions for us this week, as we all consider how to engage our culture, and our own spaces, in new ways.

Hannah Reeves: While these works are not strictly landscapes, they relate importantly to places. Can you talk about how a memory or an image of a place for you becomes this tangible new composition?

Amy Meyer: This particular body of work was created after having visited all three of my kids in three different states in the last few months. During each visit we went on hikes, in the parks in Minnesota while there was still snow on the ground, the deserts near Las Vegas, and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I was struck by how different each terrain was and also how beautiful they were in their own way. Colors were inspired by but not taken directly from these places.

HR: What artwork / artists have you been enjoying most lately? Does your appreciation of their work enter into this latest series visually?

AM: I’ve always been influenced by Richard Diebenkorn and relate to his perspective that he never considered himself a true landscape painter but his work was often inspired by the places around him. I also enjoy Helen Frankenthaler, Amy Sillman, and Jack Roth. However, most recently I was fascinated by the Arthur Osver piece that you had on exhibit at the last Master’s exhibit. His use of rice paper was intriguing and that’s when I began to work in that manner.

HR: Can you tell us a bit about your process? These works seem very layered. Are you working in multiple sessions and on multiple pieces at once in oder to achieve both this layered effect and the continuity of style and palette that runs throughout the series?

AM: The process for me was a bit different than previous paintings. I worked out the color palette and began painting large pieces of rice paper in those colors. Once dry, then I would cut and tear pieces into shapes for use on the canvas. I would always begin with a basic composition in paint and then work back and forth with painting and collageing the rice paper on to the canvas. The push and pull of it is similar to the way I work in cold wax, adding layers and texture and removing, back and forth etc….

HR: What has the Shelter-in-Place Order meant for your studio practice, your work, and your relationship to the idea of place?

AM: I’m pretty much a homebody so the Shelter-in-Place order hasn’t impacted me greatly other than not being able to travel as I’d like. Some of my favorite places are no longer, at least currently, accessible to me. I’m grateful for the travels I have had but am very aware that will be different in the future. Travel inspires a lot of my work so my work may change. The SIP has made me appreciate my studio space at home. I’m very fortunate to have the space I need and not have to commute to work. I like that you asked about how it has affected my idea of place. I feel that has changed considerably in that the idea of place is now more of a concept, with Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, and virtual family meals. My family is all spread apart across the states, but now knowing I can’t go visit them has made me realize the luxury we had with travel previously. Ian and Lee were to be married on March 27, but ended up having a quick less-than-ten people ceremony a few weeks early before everything shut down. Canceling the formal ceremony and not being able to celebrate with friends and family was sad, but we hope to be able to gather together when it’s safe to do so.

HR: What’s your favorite thing you’ve accomplished during quarantine?

AM: Cleaning my studio! I can get pretty messy leading up to a deadline… That and cooking through the alphabet, lol!

HR: What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

AM: Wow, that’s a tough question. Beauty is so subjective. Oddly enough I’m not drawn to beauty in the traditional aesthetic manner. I tend to be drawn toward the odd. There is a tree that I pass by on my walk that was completely knocked over at some point years ago, but it continues to grow. It’s had to explain, I may send a picture, but it is growing at at right angle with the trunk laying on the ground but the new growth reaching skyward. It is the perfect picture of resilience and I find that beautiful.