Liminal Beings - at ECA Gallery in September 2017
Elements of these pieces reflect my curiosity about petroglyphs, cave art, fossils, portraiture, shadows, uncanny dreams, liminal beings, pareidolia, solipsism, mental maps and degrees of acceptance of a common reality. They are the result of experimentation with traditional art materials like pencils, chalk, paper and nontraditional materials such as used plastic bags, wrappers, junk mail and some big PETG plastic sheets I reclaimed after they were used in a concrete casting process. I feel liberated when I can work with plastic from a dumpster and used food wrappers along with my chalk and paper. With that freedom, I can let my conscious intention go along for a ride while my hands and subconscious mind are driving. This lets the figures emerge as shadows from beneath the superficial day-to-day world. They materialize as a mass of marks and shapes into a space where everyone can see them. They are familiar in that they are human figures, but also strange in their connection to the mysterious, ancient and universally human subconscious mind.
In her early adulthood, Amanda Petrovato made and studied art in a formal academic setting. She started with a year and a half on an art scholarship at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana and later returned to school at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1995 she got married and received her BFA in studio art and printmaking. Two months into 1996 she became a mother. Then family time and earning a living became more important than making art.
For years the only art Amanda made was an occasional portrait drawing on commission. She moved across the country twice, ending up in the Pioneer Valley in 1999. Here in 2001, she worked with local performing artists creating and operating puppets in the "Requiem for an Egg" and "Close to Home:Artists Respond" shows at the original Flywheel space in Easthampton. From 2005 to 2011 she collaborated with musicians and artists in the improvisational groups "Jow Jow the Death Knell Rung" and "Urchestra." Working with sound and performance, she got a fresh perspective and inspiration for creativity.
Around 2013, after years of mark-making inactivity, she began to work out some new ideas with pencil, colored paper and chalk pastels, taking Instagram artists, the rise of the popularity of outsider art, and the documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" all as encouragement to return to making art. The recent pieces are more succinct, direct, and primal than work she'd done previously. At age 48 and working full time, Amanda doesn't have unlimited time to get art made. She works faster with more expression and experimentation. She likes to create art starting with the question "What if I...?" In her most recent work, Amanda finds expressive freedom using a variety of discarded, repurposed, costless or donated materials.