So, I’d like to apologise right out for my inability as of late to keep up with my posts. I’m going to promise all of you loyal followers and passing stumblers that I’ll be on top of it from now on, despite my recent setbacks. But I also promised you two posts today to make up for my failure to deliver on Sunday, so I’m going to have to get started in order to keep enough inspired muses going to write two posts in one day!
You may or may not be able to appreciate the work of Sarah Amos, but it’s worth a try for everyone. Hopefully, if you’ve been reading all of my art posts lately, you’ve developed or honed a keen eye to understanding art and perceiving the nuances between something powerful and something vague. From the Philip Institute of Technology in 1987, to the Tamarind Institute in 2002, Sarah Amos has attended several programmes to develop her talent of printmaking. Now, I don’t talk about printmaking much because it’s not something that I practice, but it’s certainly an art that I can appreciate.
Sarah Amos makes prints, usually very large ones, that reflect movement and complex overlapping through printing “ghosts,” which are the remnants of past prints. You can view more of her work that what I show here through her website (http://www.sarahamosstudio.com/index.html). But let’s start talking about art, shall we? I’m going to turn to the print I’ve displayed to the right. Like the header image, it contains muted tones and black lines, along with printing ghosts. But what makes Sarah Amos’ work come to life is its kinetic appeal.
Quite frankly, it lifts you up and drags you from one corner to the next. The black loops, reminiscent of heart monitors, use detail and repetition to cloy you to the top of the page, then drop you sharply and sweep you along so that you begin to take in all of the information of the page, moving across the bottom line and up into the more subtle ghosts in the upper quadrants, with such ease and fluidity, it’s almost like visual swimming.
Here’s another. The juxtaposition of the harsh horizontal scratching to the organised, monotonous, geometric vertical drop gives this piece a feel that is distinctly like a vector. It’s mathematical, yet complicated. However, it’s not done with a compass or a computer; we can see, as on the far lower left, how there is an organic nature to even the rigidly organised. This subtle difference from true structure allows our eyes to feel more relaxed when viewing the image, and more interested in the dropping lines. We don’t just bunch them into “vertical stripes.” Suddenly, they’re sweeping lines that careen off of the upper mess, rather than a thin barcode that is simply seen as one unit.
For the last piece I look at, I’m going to choose one that’s very similar to the first etching I showed you, but didn’t get a chance to discuss. This complex, overlapping system of lines also provokes optical movement in a slightly different way than the others we’ve looked at. It seems to spiral out of the centre of the page, an illusion occurring both because of the dark, prison-stripe lines being neither parallel nor perpendicular to the sides of the page, and also to the immense amount of subtle lines in the background. These lighter lines, which we don’t immediately perceive because of their proximity in value to the base colour, twist from a slight incline in the upper left, to a sharp incline in the lower left. This, along with the organic, transforming quality of the prison-stripe lines, gives us the sense of movement that Sarah Amos so masterfully creates with such simple art.
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