From a distance, Amy Pleasant’s drawings appear to be cosmic maps, but upon closer view are made up of numerous tiny figures engaged in individual narratives. They weave in and out, intersect and continue until they disappear into space, recording the complex workings of human interaction.
As if zooming in on these maps with a tight lens, the paintings isolate stories of individuals engaged in everyday and random activities. The format of a cinematic storyboard gives Pleasant a structure with which to create and alter these stories. She begins by filling a grid with loosely painted figures and then partially erases the figures with veils of thin washes. This process of addition and subtraction is repeated until the underlying structure is partially obscured, but still implying an unfolding narrative.
Pleasant’s large-scale wall drawings are blown up versions of the works on paper. They refer to natural phenomena and galaxies, giving the sense of standing in a planetarium. The images take the form of planets, stars and constellations, as well as explosions, fountains or waves. Pleasant’s wall drawing for the gallery resembles a wave spilling downward, leading the viewer into the exhibition.
Amy Pleasant’s work was recently on view at the 2005 Atlanta Biennial, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, N.C.; and is currently on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington. She received a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She lives and works in Birmingham, Ala.