Amanda Gruenwald’s large-scale abstractions reveal intuitive forms that emerge incrementally as a result of her accumulative mark-making. Working slowly in oil, Gruenwald produces thousands of these small marks, which merge to create a single overall form. Appearing at once organic and considered, this form conveys movement and direction, with each work communicating a distinct energy and trajectory.
Colour is key element, with interconnected fields of unexpected colour combinations driving each composition. While hues appear to repeat, each is mixed and applied separately, resulting in hundreds of colour changes throughout each work. These piles of vivid colour are woven together as their complex forms interlock, ostensibly holding one another together. Visually the works evoke warped ‘paint by numbers,’ askew and seeming to escape down the canvas.
An interest in Impressionism can be detected in Gruenwald’s treatment of colour; she is influenced by the way the Impressionist painters juxtaposed areas of distinct colour rather than smoothly blending them. Gruenwald applies her colours with variations of viscosity and fluidity, transparency and opacity, creating a textural experience reminiscent of tapestry.
Like the Impressionists, Gruenwald addresses the landscape; evident both through palette and her use of mountainous and undulating shapes. Yet her work retains obstinate abstraction. These works are a departure from the depiction of an unmolested, romantic landscape that is the territory of many traditional landscape paintings. They do not communicate the same level of idealism and wonder of nature that landscape painting usually evokes. Instead form and colour have been contorted in a way that suggests deterioration and an inevitable build up of debris or filth. This alternate viewpoint could be taken as a more truthful way to regard the modern, largely urbanised landscapes that we are confronted with today.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
Awards/Distinctions: Gordon Harris Painting Prize (2012); Kate Edgar Educational Charitable Trust Grant (2012)
Public Exhibitions: Exquisite Corpse, George Fraser Gallery (2012)
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