May 18th 2018

Santina Amato: Monster

@ Heaven Gallery

1550 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Friday, May 18th, from 7PM - 11PM

On view through Sunday, June 24th

Monster is the first solo exhibition in the US of Australian-born, US based artist, Santina Amato. In this exhibition, Amato contemplates the idea of performance in the everyday both within the public and private realm, presenting ceramic vessels designed to ‘perform’ using freshly made bread dough alongside a series of cryptic painted works on paper and an epistolary to an unknown reader.

The opening night of Monster sees Amato ‘activating’ one of the ceramic vessels on exhibit, making the fresh dough in situ. The rising of the dough physically transforms the sculpture during its live performance as it spews out onto its surface. Exhibited at once and all together but activated individually, the penultimate experience of the dough’s post-performance varying stages of decay, becomes an integral part of the work: the yeast ferments, consuming the gallery with the stench of the dough’s initial stage of ‘decay’, until it eventually dries out, becoming a brittle, yet essential, extension to the ceramic form. Referring to the work as Re-Performing Sculptures, Amato’s ceramic vessels require maintenance, care, and attention after each activated public or private performance: the ceramic vessel require its cavity to be cleaned out, post their prurient performance.

Assuming the role of supporting actor to both the ceramic vessels and the epistolary, the series of cryptic painted works on paper result in abstract reflections on the psychosexual nature of intimacy. They offer a pause among the exhibited works by acting as documents to a moment in an ongoing stage of metamorphosis.

An accompanying text, a rambling epistolary to an unknown reader where discussions on life, death, intimacy, desire, anxiety, the need for making art, and the thoughts leading up to the exhibition by the artist, provide a raw insight into questions of public performance, private expression, and the erotic tension that exists between these two modes of being. The writings reflect on public performance and private authenticity, ending in a space in which one finds a freedom from the loop.

Monster creates an environment that submerges the spectator into a constructed reality, a subjective experience where performing the grotesque aspects of female desire, manifests into a multidisciplinary stage for the Monster.

The works in this exhibition were created at ACRE Residency (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Wisconsin (2017) & Process Park Residency (Artslant & Chashama), Upstate New York (2018).

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Santina Amato is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses the basic notion of the intimate body, especially the female body. She was born in Australia to Italian immigrants, and has lived and worked in USA since 2010. She received an MFA (Photography) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) and a BFA (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne Australia (2009). Exhibitions and screenings include Governors Island Art Fair, NY, Leroy Neiman Centre, Chicago, IL, Detroit International Videonale, Kuntshalle Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, MI CURRENTS, Santa Fe International New Media Art Festival, NM, ExFest Film & Video Festival, Chicago,; Brooklyn Public TV, New York,; and The International Women’s Day Video Screening in Melbourne, Australia. In 2018, she will present a solo exhibition at Heaven Gallery, IL, supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a co-curated group exhibition with Sarah Skaggs at HERE Arts Center in NYC and fulfil the role of Artist-in-Residence at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA supported by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) Individual Artists Program (IAP) Grant and Crosstown Arts Center, Memphis, TN. Amato is Founder and Director of Moving_Image_00:00, a biannual festival in Chicago of moving image works created by Chicago-based artists.

Amato’s work is part of a collective photographic portfolio at The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and The Art Institute of Chicago and video collection at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia.

Image Courtesy of the Artist.
Re-Performing Sculpture I, 2017, Ceramic and Bread Dough. Governors Island Art Fair, NYC.

Exhibition runs May 18 – June 24

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