About Amy Marie Smith
Please contact me with any questions, or comments.
My work speaks about bodies interacting. I paint about different types of touch—violent, tender, abusive, and loving. My interest lies in the moments of touch that exist between the two extremes of violence and love, and the moments of touch when it may be difficult to discern the difference. Painting and printmaking themselves already speak in many ways about touch, through facture, surface, and pressure. In printmaking, the delicacy and surprising strength of the paper (much like a body) matched with the violence of the press relates to the tension I am describing in my work. Scars, punctures, rips, and tears left by my hands on the paper become metaphors for marks left on the body. In painting, I try to relate my body to the press, and act upon the painting in this way. I feel that the evidence of my touch on the painting is paramount in my work. Because of this, I am very interested in the indexical mark. The touch of the artist left on the surface—the accidental evidence of the making of an object—is a very special part of making that allows viewers to feel connected to the actions of touch involved in creating.
The content informing my works stems from personal experience surrounding touch and abuse. I like to include obscured narrative elements, the structure of which mirror the vague and cyclical nature of abuse. I believe that explicit narration would limit my work, as my focus is on the feelings surrounding the narrative and not on the retelling of a story. I strive to keep narrative elements in my work open ended. Elements of psychology, and body politics also inform my work.
Reading and researching about hero-victim cycles, dissassociative disorders, and dysmorphic disorders influence the imagery and production of my work. I am very interested in the way dissociative states affect the body. This is something I explore through my work with paper cut outs. By cutting up and re-constructing bodies, it is my goal to communicate that sense of foreignness one feels in one’s own body during dissociative and dysmorphic states. In my body of work as a whole, it is my goal to untangle an intimate understanding of moments of touch between bodies.