Amy Ellingson uses repetition and variation as tools to achieve a pure, autonomous abstraction. All of her imagery, whether geometrically intact or abstracted and chaotic, is comprised of a vocabulary of very simple forms that are digitally manipulated. She replicates these basic elements into an increasingly complex field that is then rendered in discreet layers of oil and encaustic paint. Using ephemeral, computer-generated abstract forms exclusively as her source material, Ellingson creates paintings that physically assert themselves through the heft and permanence of historical painting media. The translation from the digital to the material—a manifestation of elusive data into undeniable physical form and dimension—is paramount.
"My work is an attempt to confront the enormity of contemporary virtual experience while asserting the traditional, historic, human activity of painting. The paradox of technology is that it allows for an unprecedented level of self-expression and connectivity while it simultaneously distances us from ourselves and others. The practice of painting is similarly paradoxic; it requires a degree of isolation and self-containment in order to connect—in the present, and also through time—with others. On a reductive level, technology and abstract painting (arguably the most human of all painterly strategies) are particulate: pixels and lines of code are analogous to marks and gestures.”
Ellingson’s paintings have been exhibited nationally and in Tokyo, Japan. She is the recipient of the Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship and the Artadia Grant to Individual Artists and has been awarded fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Notable exhibitions include Iterations & Assertions at the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art (solo), Bay Area Now 3 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Neo Mod: Recent Northern California Abstraction at the Crocker Art Museum; and Nineteen Going on Twenty: Recent Acquisitions from the Collection at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. Her work is held in various public and corporate collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Crocker Art Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the Berkeley Art Museum and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. She received a B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College and an M.F.A. from CalArts. Amy Ellingson lives and works in San Francisco.