The Sleepwalker's Language
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My studio practice is built on systems of research; I scan the mediascape for cues, images or phrases that draw connections between human migration, community, mobility, transience and the overarching politics of architecture. In making, I work at the point where drawing and the mechanical language of print intersect. The images have a sense of magical/minimal realism that is inspired by architectural illustration, comic books, cartoon language, street art, information graphics, news footage, consumer packaging, instructional manuals and cinematic space/time. For the past several years, my artwork has begun as an investigation of images found in documentary sources, such as the Sunday edition of the New York Times, online news sources and websites for international aid agencies. I start with clippings depicting the smoking shells of bombed buildings, wreckage left after receding flood waters, tsunami-mangled villages, car bombings, refugee migrations. Through erasure, drawing and collage, the world of the source begins to change. Editing and combining imagery to make visual connections between seemingly disparate events, constellations form and something new emerges. My media-isolation experiment is intended not to glorify or monumentalize the dystopic events unfolding around us. My interest is in distilling and cataloguing the patterns and forms of our daily world through an intuitive editing process. We normally see these kinds of documentary images as topical, disposable, something to process and consume quickly. By sifting through the pictorial evidence of displacement and strife, I discover what is hidden in plain view: essential visual elements that let the eye linger and keep the viewer from turning the page.
Amze Emmons | See All Editions