Magnan Projects is pleased to present its second solo show for Amelia Biewald. Intrigues will be on view from November 6 – December 20, 2008.
In her latest works Biewald harnesses her interest in great legends and mingles fact with fiction to recreate fables or intrigues. Her frenzied world of hybrid beings are captured in a state of transformation and unions from one animal or being to another, forever becoming a tree, or a woman or a horse – seeking the pinnacle of supernatural beauty.
Employing a wide range of materials, the artist creates sensual surfaces and textures. Drawing on upholstered velvet, brush-drawn and carved lines on vellum and molded leather surfaces, Biewald achieves varying levels of translucency, further exploring her interest in notions of supernaturalness. She explains, “What interests me are the inherent visual possibilities of [that] supernaturalness; where the line between what is artificial and what is natural with regards to our physicality becomes blurred. I create crypto-zoological ‘scapes’ involving painterly drawing on vellum, leather, and upholstered velvets, inhabited by these unique complex characters. These characters, these crypto-equestrian and crypto-vegetal hybrid beings, are portrayed as desirable and alluring, yet dangerous. I imagine and create universes or ‘landscapes’ for these beings to inhabit.”
The body of work made for Intrigues was influenced by the life and legend of Catherine the Great. Rumors of Catherine’s love affairs and myth of her death (crushed by her equine paramour) overshadowed her true power as a ruler. By 18th century standards she was seen as “unnatural” for her aberrant sexuality as well as successfully overthrowing her husband to be a monarch.
The horse, with its connotations of power, beauty and majestic conquering only add to the characterization of Catherine the Great’s reign and death. In You Make Me Feel Like I’m Seventeen Again (Ink on Japanese paper, resin and acrylic on panel, 25×31”) Biewald, in a style that has become distinctly her own, intertwines scandalous imagery of Romantic female figures, leather trusses, horses, heart shaped horseshoes (another legend of Catherine the Great’s tribute to her beloved horse “Brilliant”) that seem to tumble across the panel like a raucous romp.