Amanda C. Mathis
Embracing an aesthetic of decay, broken chairs, torn linoleum, decorative molding and ugly carpet are arranged in layers, calling our attention to the physical traits of each. Separated from their original context, salvaged and selected scraps are overlapped and combined to give a sense of domestic space. Capturing materials largely from the 1950s thru 1970s, there is a familiar, oblique Americana to Mathis’ work; yet having outlasted their usefulness, the materials possess a certain icky stickiness. Nonetheless, Mathis’s palette of muted patterns and natural fibers creates a feeling of approachable nonchalance.
Playing on stillness, photographic documents of building facades and empty interiors offer another approach to the passage of time and architectural styles. Vinyl sided houses observed on her daily routine in Brooklyn and Queens are a recurring motif, and Mathis positions her subject much like a portrait, with windows, doors and roofs holding the personality. Sometime obscuring, sometimes revealing architectural imagery, salvaged materials enliven the imagination and turn domestic life inside out.
Mathis’ work continues the conversation with the Assemblage of 1950s New York, bringing a brash and unromantic view of reality to the fore. Her work has the rugged energy of Rauschenberg’s combines, the chiperness of Mike Kelley’s bundled thrift store toys, and Thomas Hirschhorn’s early apocalyptic installations. Similarly, the materials she employes are stained and worn by years of use by the original owners and displayed as containers of demure destruction.
Mathis has had solo exhibitions at Lesley Heller (July 2019), James Nicholson Gallery and Smack Mellon (all NYC), and Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, WI. She has been included in two-person and group exhibitions at Lorimoto, Open Source Gallery, Kunsthalle Galapagos, the helper, Aquarius, and Gallery Molly Krom (all NYC), and Freedman Gallery at Albright College (PA). Amanda earned an MFA from Pratt Institute and a BFA from University of Central Florida in Orlando; she has participated in the Artist in the Marketplace program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts residency. She was a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2011 and a NYFA Fellowship (Crafts/Sculpture) in 2014.