Amanda Wall is an American contemporary figurative painter whose practice addresses conflicts within bodily existence. Using personal photographs as references, Wall's paintings descend into surreal fantasies that frame the body's most vulnerable parts.Read More
Wall was born in Hood River, Oregon and studied interior architecture and design in Seattle. She had a career in fashion and design, working in roles including stylist, art director and creative director, before returning to painting in 2019. Wall is a self-taught painter. She works in Los Angeles, California, where she has lived for a decade.
Wall recognises the 'isolation' and 'feeling of attainable fantasies' in LA as aligning with her artistic style.
Often monumental in scale, Wall's oil paintings explore the 'limits of intimacy' in a way that envelops the viewer. Her energetic brushstroke, graphic style, and startling use of colour, paired with the framing of fleshy, often nude or partially clothed bodies reflects a process that is unplanned but guided by a specific emotion or subject, usually originating from personal photographic references.
Wall's distinctive palette includes glossy, fleshy tones that clash with candy floss pinks and lurid neons. She describes her fascination with 'Pepto Bismol pink' beginning in childhood, recalling a nightmare at the age of five in which she dreamed of the colour. Deliberately using colours that 'feel a bit wrong', Wall creates additional tension in her voyeuristic compositions.
Wall's exhibition Juicy (2021) at The Cabin in Los Angeles presented an intimate collection of works in a cottage-like structure in the backyard of artist Danny First's residence. Central to the exhibition was the large-scale painting Baby New Year (2021), which portrays a female figure, nude all but for one sock, crouched beneath neon pink translucent plastic and scattered with silver confetti.
In much of Wall's artworks, the painting reveals as much as it obscures in terms of meaning. Backgrounds bleed into figures, and limbs and figures are unrealistically twisted and contorted. Bent (2020) shows a pair of feminine legs in stilettos, with one leg twisted around the other against the crimson background. Similarly, Puddle (2020) shows two figures disintegrating into a silvery pool, toying with focus suggestive of looking through frosted glass. The black thigh-high boots worn by the standing figure are crisply defined, while the figures' heads and bodies are blurred at the edges.
Along with Wall's dreamlike, sensual treatment of the figure, transparent objects and materials such as reflective glass, plastic, and water are recurring motifs in her practice. Empty (2020) shows the artist staring through a half-empty wine glass, her face warped and distorted beyond recognition.
Blue Bouquet (2020) displays a figure curled up behind a newly bought bunch of flowers, with one eye visible through the clear plastic wrapping. Wall's use of bright white highlights demarcates the tangibly thin wrapping from the figure's face which melts into the background.
Amanda Wall's first solo exhibition Juicy opened at The Cabin, Los Angeles in 2021.
Group exhibitions include Salon de Peinture, Almine Rech, New York (2021); Reflections: Human/Nature, Gana Art, Seoul (2021); Frieze Viewing Room: New York, Anat Ebgi (2021); Pt 2: Invasive Species, Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles (2021); The Artist is Online, König Galerie, Berlin (2021); To Paint is to Love Again, Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2020).
Annie Curtis | Ocula | 2021