Paintings and collages from the 2019-2020 series Grounded / Ungrounded. Installed in the three-person exhibition Borrowed Time at the University Gallery at Western Illinois University in 2020.
b. 1978, Augusta, GA
Amy Sacksteder is an artist and curator whose work explores personal and collective relationships to Landscape and artifact. She works across media, most commonly in painting, collage, drawing, cut paper, and installation. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Recent solo and three person exhibitions include University of South Carolina Upstate (Spartanburg, SC), Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL), The Detroit Center for Design and Technology (Detroit, MI) and Alma College (Alma, MI). Recent group exhibitions include Dutoit Gallery (Dayton, OH), Buckham Gallery (Flint, MI), Lump (Raleigh, NC), Art Metropole (Toronto, ON), and The Front (New Orleans, LA). She has a forthcoming solo exhibition at Divisible (Dayton, OH) scheduled for November 2020.
Sacksteder has completed artist residencies at SÍM (Reykjavík, Iceland), Takt (Berlin, Germany), The Hungarian Multicultural Center (Budapest, Hungry) and the Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, IL), among others. In 2012 she was awarded a Gallery-as-Studio Residency and solo exhibition at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2016 she completed a Residency in Motherhood via Lenka Clayton. Her work has been featured and reviewed in journals such as New American Paintings and the Chicago Tribune and is included in the curated online registries of The Drawing Center and White Columns. Amy Sacksteder has curated and co-curated the national and international exhibitions Island: 22 Artists on Iceland in 2011 (co- hosted at 'CAVE Gallery, Detroit, MI); Atmosphere: Artists' Responses to Space(s) in 2015; and Vitrine in 2018, all at Eastern Michigan University.
In 2019, Sacksteder returned to oil painting after a hiatus while pregnant and for general health reasons. She has since adopted safe oil painting practices and implements them when teaching painting. Sacksteder and her family live in Ypsilanti, Michigan, outside of Detroit. Sacksteder works from her studio in Ypsilanti, and is a professor in the School of Art + Design at Eastern Michigan University.
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Some words about recent series:
In this series, the collages came first. They depict the front walkway of my home, a threshold I cross daily, spliced with other photographed elements from my studio or daily life—including walks in my neighborhood—all shot on my phone. The collages inspire the paintings in the same series. I see them all, the collages and paintings, as one extended conversation about movement among modes of being—between my pre-kid self and my current and future state as a mother, between being a roamer and a homebody, between being settled and unsettled and back again. For me, the pavers depicted are both stones and portals; they are fixed and in flux; they are formal devices and metaphors. Through this work, I explore how far we can travel while remaining localized. For me, they reframe the concept of the Landscape, and my place within it.
I turned to photo collage after both of my sons were born (2015 and 2018) for its immediacy, approachability, and flexibility. These two distinct, yet related series collapse moments of my immediate existence into what are essentially diaristic dioramas (especially as they inhabit shadow-boxed frames) re-contextualizing time, place, and nuanced experiences. The collages take the form of top-hinged, enmeshed booklets, fanning out from the top such that—in addition to shadows depicted in the imagery, shadows are also cast by the layers of paper onto and against each other. In my experience, the collages embody all of the experimentation, curiosity, and wonder explored in the act of playing. For me, too, their loveliness is simultaneously enhanced and undercut by the disillusionment that accompanies living and parenting in our current world, fraught with tension.
In the wake of the 2016 election, I explored fences as interrupters of vantages and direct movement and as signals of imposed safety. I silver leafed hand-cut paper fences, allowing the entropy of tarnish to continue acting upon the pieces after they leave the studio.