Visual Art: Painter
BIOGRAPHY / ABOUT: London Amara is an American born visual artist recognized for her large scale industrial, gestural, and metaphoric sculpture, paintings and drawings. Since 1990, Amara has used a varied practice of installation, sculpture, painting and drawing to explore the complex relationship between art, life, death and the physical bodies of objects within the space that surrounds them. Explaining, “Down, into the deep, into the bones, I look around to see what cannot be seen with the eye. I ignore the fear, summon the courage, and choose which pieces I bring upward into the light. Often, I do not want to look at what I have surfaced with. That is how I know I have brought with me exactly what I needed to bring.” Amara’s work investigates and challenges contemporary belief systems, distilling layers of surface to depth, a constant Mercurial journey inward.
Amara developed a deepened interest in exploring the human body through her own MRI, x-ray, and injection videos taken after a car crash in early 2009. “I had to make sense of the destruction surrounding me. I had to make sense of the shattering brokenness in my body, my failing marriage, my closest friendships severed and the hospitalization that followed. Words were no longer enough. Artwork begins where words end.” Amara works within a counter-pressure against abstraction. Focused on the ground and the base, reducing it to a common denominator; the currency of bodily signs exchanged within a network of value-judgments are recognizable in both her drawings, paintings and sculpture dealing directly with the human form and the space it occupies. Organs without bodies; limbic, lymphatic, skeletal and cellular forms are recorded in charcoal, graphite, paint, welded steel, leather and innumerable mediums to create a tangible and visually rich satiation of the body’s experience. “I am intoxicated and seduced with body/figure in space. We have an incredibly perceptive set of systems governing our body and allowing us to literally move through space. These systems are a constant source of fascination to me. The charcoal, graphite and ink drawings of skeletal parts, cellular abstractions and bodies in silhouettes, my welded body sculptures, the repetition and rhythm of tangibles in the golf tees and hockey pucks…all of these are trying to understand the body in relation to the space it occupies.” In her “Body Print Series”, (2007-present) paint is applied to the naked surface of skin and pressed into canvas, leaving a visual capture of the body. The body’s velocity is broken into figurations of its mass and its spatial relations.
Amara is concerned with the topological, structural, and functional recordings of the figure in space. In her 2010 work titled “30,000 golf tees” she indulges textural metaphors and irony at the level of gilding of the object, tees. Irony and double entendre, visual puns leading the abstraction as the sublimation of specific semantic content through massing; countable nouns; i.e. golf “tees, pennies, feathers, blown out tires, hockey pucks” literally the rubric of quantification for the material- and subject-plural “event” of Golf, Hockey; 30,000 tees, 998 hockey pucks, 4 thousand pennies, innumerable feathers, all removed from context marks a dead-letter reference; (competition, spectating, endorsement, distribution, consumption, statistical production) – all turned into a mass (sometimes uncountable) noun, i.e. a penetration of 30,000 tees.; this is the sublimation and consequent abstraction by which the mathematical sublime becomes a new conceptual whole. Her consistent use of abstraction distances us from the precise determination inherent to the sport, thereby clearing an archeological path to excavate the latent gilded-ness of golf when it is taken as a mass cultural phenomenon, not a thing unto itself. She has taken a single object (golf tee, penny, feather, tire retread) and subjugated common perceptions, producing an entity greater than its singularity.
In her work titled Father’s Saw, Mother’s Wool (2009), she has created networks of signification made figuratively present; spun wool entwining the saw both accents its form and disrupts its surface meaning; renders it animal-like. In her work titled “I’m hurting”, she has carved the words backwards on a rolling pin so that the rolling creates the phrase over and over again. Her use of domesticity, food/mouth/eating reference consumption, process and the push/pull tension between masculine and feminine bodies.
After moving to Naples, Florida in 1999, she began her career as an artist and taught courses based on her innovative use of polymer resins, metals, oxidation processes and the psychology of art making. Additionally, at 21, she served as the co-director and co-curator for Padulo Art in Naples, Florida where she researched and visited over 100 galleries in 52 cities within one year. The culmination of that research was formulated into the curatorial practices that would last for the next seven years and generate record breaking sales. Amara has had several group and solo shows, and consistently creates public and private commissions. In 2010, she created the $18,000 private commission involving 30,000 golf tees. Recently she composed a $15,000 commission for The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team that included 998 hockey pucks and weighed over 500 pounds (2012). This piece is permanently displayed at the public Box Office at the Tampa Bay Forum. Her work was published in The Dupont Registry (2012), Sydney Berne and Davis Center (2013, 2009) and can be found in permanent collections such as Fine Mark Bank (2009), Allstate Insurance (2008), the Diamond District (2012), Gallery: Lew Griffin, 2013, and is officially represented by Tampa Bay’s most prestigious gallery, MIchael Murphy Gallery, Tampa Florida, 2013.
London Amara was educated at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio (1995-1999). A student of painting, photography and sculpture, Amara sharpened her natural born talents into carefully crafted skills. This foundation would prove the artistic grounds she needed to create a career in art. Amara divides her work between Studio North in Columbus, Ohio and Studio South in Tampa Bay, Florida teaching, creating and connecting amazing artists across the country. Additionally, Amara is an honorary member of Who’s Who in America.