Into the Woods: Amelia Biewald
Exhibit runs: December 1-31, 2010
*Opening Reception: December 2, 2011, 7-11 PM
Artist Talk:December 1, in collaboration with First Thursdays at the Northrup King Building 6-7 pm: open Thursday Dec 1, 5–9 pm
Employing a wide range of materials and techniques, Amelia Biewald creates sensual surfaces and textures in painting, installation and sculptural objects. Drawing on upholstered velvet, brush-drawn and carved lines on vellum and molded leather surfaces, Biewald achieves varying levels of translucency, further exploring her interest in notions of supernaturalness. She explains, “What interests me are the inherent visual possibilities of [that] supernaturalness; where the line between what is artificial and what is natural with regards to our physicality becomes blurred. I create crypto-zoological ‘scapes’ involving painterly drawing on vellum, leather, and upholstered velvets, inhabited by these unique complex characters. These characters, these crypto-equestrian and crypto-vegetal hybrid beings, are portrayed as desirable and alluring, yet dangerous. I imagine and create universes or ‘landscapes’ for these beings to inhabit.”
Biewald has always been interested in the artifice and illusion inherent in eighteenth century society; here imagine her subterranean courtesans, intrigues and encounters.
A portion of this body of work was influenced by the life and legend of Catherine the Great. Rumors of Catherine’s love affairs and myth of her death (crushed by her equine paramour) overshadowed her true power as a ruler. By 18th century standards she was seen as “unnatural” for her aberrant sexuality as well as successfully overthrowing her husband to be a monarch.
The horse, with its connotations of power, beauty and majestic conquering only add to the characterization of Catherine the Great’s reign and death. In You Make Me Feel Like I’m Seventeen Again (Ink on Japanese paper, resin and acrylic on panel, 25 x 31”) Biewald, in a style that has become distinctly her own, intertwines scandalous imagery of Romantic female figures, leather trusses, horses, heart shaped horseshoes (another legend of Catherine the Great’s tribute to her beloved horse “Brilliant”) that seem to tumble across the panel like a raucous romp.
Also in the space, Biewald becomes obsessed with subterranean landscapes. The eerie beauty of caves, and the visual appearance of their organic, timeless structures, has always titillated her. She re-creates subterranean “cavescapes” utilizing a wide array of materials, culminating in provocative large-scale installed works inhabited by unique subterranean characters.
Amelia Biewald has exhibited her artworks internationally and has been the recipient of several visual arts awards, residencies, and fellowships including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Fellowship, a Smack Mellon “Tops Picks” Award, a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Space Program Award, the Schick Gallery Residency Award at Skidmore College, and a Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Assistant Fellowship, and a Jerome Foundation Artist Fellowship. She has worked with the public in the visual arts on many occasions, and has held positions as visiting artist/professor at Skidmore College, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the College of Visual Art. Amelia Biewald’s work has been exhibited most recently in the exhibitions currated by No Longer Empty, The Sixth Borough: Mutualism, on Governors Island, New York, NY, in Sideshow Soo at the SOO Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, in Material Matters, at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, and in a solo show, Perfect From Now On at Magnan Metz in New York, NY. Amelia creates multi-textual worlds involving eerie and surreal landscapes inhabited by supernatural characters. Her artworks continue to question qualities of both allure and revulsion, and the art histories that support her installations.