Amy Ellingson: Iterations & Assertions
June 7 – September 13, 2014
Amy Ellingson: Iterations & Assertions is a solo exhibition of work by San Francisco-based artist Amy Ellingson. Ellingson’s process involves borrowing, distorting, manipulating, and re-contextualizing simple, basic forms in order to create a complex field of information.
Amy Ellingson’s work explores the dichotomy between digitally rendered imagery and traditional painting. She systematically and sometimes playfully uses repetition to create a body of related works. By imposing constraints on her process, she is able to explore the endless variables within her framework, so that one work will inform the next one and so forth. Repetition is inextricable to this practice, and yet difference is essential.
The compositions are designed on the computer using simple shapes – lines, curves, arcs and grids. Ellingson then exercises the expansive possibilities that repetition, distortion, manipulation and layering yield. She is most interested in what is lost and changed in the translation from virtual to real. In explaining her work, she states, “The digital realm is always present. Painting history is always present. And the self is wedged in between.” Ultimately, the complex compositions, the sensuous surfaces and the dynamic colors come together to create pulsating imagery and exhilarating optical twists.
The centerpiece of Iterations and Assertions is “Variation: Apparent Reflectional Symmetry Parts 1 and 2,” the large-scale oil and encaustic diptych that immediately commands the visitor’s attention. The paintings initially appear to mirror one another, and set the tone for the back and forth, upside down, inside out visual experience. The diptych also serves as the starting point for all the other work in the gallery, the most ambitious of which is “Variation: Large Delineation,” the site-specific mural that spans the length of the gallery and extends onto an adjoining wall.
Ellingson refers to the mural as a kind of wireframe interpretation of the painted imagery. However, instead of starting with the schematic blueprint, she has digitally deconstructed the layers of the paintings to create the wall work. Rendered in subtle tones of grey, the chaotic composition seems to conceptually reflect the vast tangle of networks that make up the World Wide Web.
Finally, in her continuous quest to transform the ephemeral to the physical, Ellingson has created sculptural translations of the imagery in the paintings. The 1000 plus encaustic castings reflect raw imaginings that Ellingson says resemble “artifacts, or debris, liberated from the vertical plane.” And, indeed, they appear to have jumped off the panel and onto the pedestal.
During its 34-year history, the ICA has encouraged artists to experiment, take risks and develop works that would not otherwise be realized. Iterations and Assertions is the culmination of 18 months of planning and painting. The work was created specifically for this exhibition and the ICA’s gallery space, including Ellingson’s first-ever mural installation.
Amy Ellingson’s artworks have been exhibited in solo shows in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Santa Monica as well as group shows at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Scripps College in Claremont, the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and the Monterey Museum of Art. Ellingson is the recipient of the 2009 Eureka Fellowship, the 2007 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship and the Artadia 1999 Grant to Individual Artists. She received a BA in Studio Art from Scripps College and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Her work is held in various public and corporate collections including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the U.S. Embassies in Tunisia and Algeria, and the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Talking Art: In Conversation with Amy Ellingson
June 26, 2014
Join the ICA and artist Amy Ellingson as she explains the process that went into developing and creating her solo-exhibition ‘Amy Ellingson: Iterations & Assertions’.