About Amy Ellingson
My work exaggerates the dichotomy between lightning-fast digital rendering processes and traditional oil and encaustic painting techniques. All of my imagery, whether geometrically intact or abstracted and chaotic, is comprised of a vocabulary of very simple forms that are digitally manipulated. The paintings consist of many interrelated layers of repeating geometric forms—straight lines and arcs, primarily—that I compose on the computer. I replicate these basic elements into an increasingly complex field that I then render in discreet layers of oil and encaustic paint. Using ephemeral, computer-generated images exclusively as my source material, I create paintings that physically assert themselves through the materiality and permanence of historical painting media. The translation from the evanescent (virtual) to the concrete (real) is paramount.
My interests lie in the practices of formal repetition, variation and mutation within limited serial networks. The works are created through a series of steps intended to conflate the systemic and the gestural. Working within a self-reflexive system—borrowing, distorting, manipulating, copying and pasting, re-contextualizing—I am able to create a personal language that is hermetic, yet flexible and mutable. Digital tools enable me to develop a vocabulary of forms that are used, grabbed, reused, and manipulated beyond recognition, resulting in a signature vernacular of marks that are predetermined via digital processing.
Over the last 25 years, Amy Ellingson has produced large-scale artworks for public spaces (including the San Francisco International Airport), commercial galleries, museums and private commissions. Her 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 group exhibitions include Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture Since 1900 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Unfamiliar Again: Contemporary Women Abstractionists at the Newcomb Art Museum, 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. Ellingson’s paintings have been reviewed in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, NYArts Magazine, and Art issues. She received a B.A. in Studio Art from Scripps College and an M.F.A. from CalArts. Ellingson’s recent solo exhibition, Chopping Wood on the Astral Plane, with Eli Ridgway | Contemporary Art, was held at Minnesota Street Project in October 2016. Her public commission, Untitled (Large Variation), is an 1100 square foot ceramic mosaic mural. It is a permanent installation, on view in Terminal 3 at the San Francisco International Airport. Amy Ellingson lives and works in San Francisco.
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