a m y s a c k s t e d e r

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.


My paintings, drawings, collages, and installations explore artifacts as vehicles of human connection to specific places and occurrences. Compelled by human interactions with the land and landscape, I investigate the personal, environmental, and political significances of place. In the wake of the 2016 election, I had a one-year-old son. I navigated fears associated with parenting in a seemingly new and divided country through painting and paper cut installations. I explored fences as interrupters of vantages and direct movement and as signals of imposed safety. I silver leaf hand-cut paper fences, allowing the entropy of tarnish to continue acting upon the pieces after they leave the studio.

I turned to photo collage after each of my sons was born (2015 and 2018) for its immediacy, approachability, and flexibility. The collages collapse moments of my immediate existence into diaristic dioramas re-contextualizing time, place, artifacts, and experiences. They take the form of top-hinged, enmeshed booklets, fanning out from the top such that—in addition to shadows depicted in the collaged imagery, shadows are also cast by the layers of paper onto and against each other. Some depict the front walkway of my home, a threshold I cross often, spliced with other photographed elements from my studio or daily life, all shot on my phone. The collages inspire my recent paintings. I see them all as one extended conversation about movement among modes of being. For me, they reframe the concept of the Landscape, and my place within it.