Amy Pleasant is a Seattle figurative painter. After spending several years as a general ed and secondary art teacher, she studied design at the Art Institute of Seattle and attended the Drawing and Painting Atelier at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle.
The continuous thread running through my work suggests a way of walking through a prism of women's experience within the context of generational transition. From the beginning, a curiosity about passage and the influence of memory was elicited by the juxtaposition of simultaneously raising my children and caring for my mother through a terminal illness.
Witnessing generational transition firsthand prompted a deeper understanding of the role of gender and the cost to women on whose shoulders we stand. This initial work was rooted in discarded black and white photos found in antique and thrift shops. A focus on the moment before and after the pose revealed a clandestine emotional landscape written on their faces. Women continue to explore breaking out of gender norms, exploring their own agency and removing barriers. My metaphorical figurative work endeavors to lovingly animate these women and honor their precarious navigation through a gender-biased world while recognizing the legacy left to us and the work left to do.
My fascination with change has expanded to explore the past with an eye towards our collective future. I know for certain that life is always changing . . . but some things linger. Now, more than ever, the world, our very history as a people and planet are in transition to something else, something better. I cannot help but have my art reflect this incredible time. A leaning towards abstraction, an exploratory use of color, an introduction of the palette knife and trowel has provoked a desire to frame the old in light of the new and a focus upon the unknown which will replace it. These days, I find myself interested more in the idea of the thing, rather than the physicality of the thing itself. My images give the viewer a nudge, but it is for them to create the narrative, much like the fluidity of a memory and notion of an imagined future.
Amy Pleasant is a Seattle figurative painter. After spending several years as a general ed and secondary art teacher, she studied design at the Art Institute of Seattle and attended the Drawing and Painting Atelier at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle. Her color-saturated paintings are infused with the exploration of memory, and generational transition. Amy has participated in national exhibitions in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, and has had solo exhibitions in Seattle and Amsterdam. In 2012 she was one of twelve artists featured nationally by the Woman's Caucus for the Arts and was a recipient of an Artist Trust Gap grant in 2016. Her work is in personal and corporate collections in the Pacific Northwest and the Netherlands. Amy is also a writer, and her work can be found on her blog, Life Meets Art. Her “Art and Social Justice” articles have been published in HuffPost and Bust Magazine. She enjoys spending time with her family, teaching part-time, volunteering at Serenity Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation in Maple Valley, WA caring for the horses. Amy is also an avid hiker, drawing inspiration from weekly hikes throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Go Figure! is on view now through December 6 in the Nichols Gallery. This striking exhibition will expand your definition of figurative art.
We thank our sponsors- The Honeywell Charitable Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission, Town of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island Community Foundation, Anonymous, Orcas Island Community Foundation, Printonyx, Harbor Rental, Browne’s Home Center, Tucker House, Friday Harbor Grand, and Friday Harbor House.