Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

{amanda marie}

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In the most cultivated sense of its virtue, Amanda Marie’s work is childish.

Resonating within the universal chords of youth and aging, the way that Amanda Marie’s work comments on her life and that which teems around her is not rude, nor hackneyed. Instead, her work is playful in a most sophisticated manner.

Amanda Marie’s work may possess all of the grand things that elevate visual art into grand exaltations, however I’m not so sure that her work is about much more than, simply: her. By her own admission her pieces resonate with her sensibilities and her past. And most importantly, her work is a physical manifestation of where she is right now.

Living outside of town with her husband and their child, Amanda Marie’s studio resembles more of a play space than a stern and somber artist’s den. There is paint sprayed on the floor, patterns hanging and all of her necessary tools lining the wall. In here I picture there to be many more smiles than moments of brooding.

It is true that children’s books and coloring books have inspired Amanda Marie. But it is also true that there resides a certain seriousness in her work - in her illustrations and concepts. And she manages to successfully yoke it all together without pretension and without being stodgy.

Using the tools around her she is able to build characters with enough depth and breadth to be worthy of the metaphors that she laces through them. Likewise, on account of the simple brilliance of her style – it lends a familiarity to the viewer – and to her. In this, Amanda Marie finds it much easier to address the issues that she does in her work and in her life.

Drawing on the books that shaped her from an early age, Amanda Marie has always possessed a variety of gifts. One of those was drawing. To this end, she attended Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design as an illustrator. And while she began drawing realistic subject matter as a child, she has certainly paid attention to her development and now she stands lifetimes away from realism; and much further down a more complicated path.

Even in her process, she takes a childlike approach. Her medium is house paint that she acquires from the dump. Her studio is a playhouse where she has an assembly line. She makes her canvases, puts colors down and then goes into her storybook mind to find inspiration within figures and colors and maybe even one of her new stencils. In all of this it’s easy to see why Amanda Marie doesn’t find this to be work. For her it is play. Afterall, work that feels like hers should be fun to produce.

And it’s her stencils that embody this childlike notion of production. Inherent is the notion of repetition – like her work on the Block Building – which was the repetition of a stencil or two. In this she has struck a chord of universal understanding: simplicity and repetition. In these two concepts there is always a familiarity and a valor. A childlike element of play.

So it’s probably entirely appropriate that Amanda Marie is now a mother. Her and her husband have a child and this, I am sure - as she stays at home with her little tike – is pushing her even further along her creative and human path.

Living out in a place called Masonville, a place that I had to actually look-up – she lives as she works, simply, playfully and in earnest. No, Amanda Marie is not entrenched in the strange politics of the urban art culture in Denver. Instead she stays away, constantly producing and, playing in the swing sets of her mind.