Amy Erickson is a figurative painter who lives and works in Seattle, WA. She works from the live model and still life in oil, acrylic, collage, and drawing media. She sees her process as a feedback loop between research and invention. Research involves making smaller images directly from life, her in-progress painting, or of some artifact in her imagination - “primary documents” that record information about color, form, and perception. She uses these smaller works to generate larger paintings in her studio that compress these perceptual “documents” together with additional layers of time, emotion, narrative, and sensation.
She is currently working on a series of observational paintings that feature girls she knows well. I have the individual come to my studio, pose for an hour or two while I make a small painting and some drawings, take photographs, and then I use all of that to create a larger painting. I want the paintings to feel like expansive sensory experiences of color and form, specific to the moment I had with them modeling in my studio, but that are also tied to a story specific to our friendship and larger archetypal symbol that reveals itself as I work on the painting. I’m always trying to challenge what I think is my perception of what I’m looking at, and not follow a linear progression of ‘general to specific’ aka just copying what I see. I want the images to be a fight between illusion and materiality, with flat spots of color blooming together and somehow coalescing into a discernible body in space.
I draw inspiration for my compositions through a process of searching junk shops, the personal belongings of loved ones, and my own domestic surroundings. The sentimental or symbolic attachment I have toward these objects is merely a jumping-off point for deeper perceptual digestion. The interplay between looking, recording, and composing through mark and shape is the core of my process. The experience of making is both exploring and surrendering what is "precious" - a journey toward discovering something more sublime.
Gage Academy of Art acknowledges the Coast Salish Peoples as the original inhabitants of this area and connecting waterways. We understand the land that Gage occupies is unceded territory and that today many Indigenous peoples live here and without their stewardship, we would not have access to this space. We honor the Coast Salish Peoples’ sovereignty, rights to self-determination, culture and ways of life. Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have called this territory their sacred land. We commit to learning, educating others and repairing the legacy of historically harmful relationships between non-Native and Native peoples in King County. In doing so, we will be honest, and recognize the experiences of Native peoples to include genocide, forced relocation, forced assimilation, and land theft. We also acknowledge Native peoples are survivors, present in today’s world, thriving. We encourage everyone here today to ask themselves: what can I do to support Indigenous communities?
In an effort to be transparent, Gage is contemplating this call to action and re-working how to best support Indigenous communities.