On exhibit in Fratelli’s Cafe Gallery from August 3 - August 30 *
Please stop in and have a look even if you aren't dining!
All of Amy’s paintings are a piece of eye candy—sweet and colorful.
Even after the immediate blast of pleasure from seeing a bright and pretty object something about this work begs me to keep looking. Perhaps it’s that they are simple yet complex, both flat and 3-dimensional at once...is this possible?
I can feel the consideration that has gone into every element of the composition. A lover of plants myself, I imagine it difficult to discern which details to include in an expressionistic rendering and which to leave out. How to convey the living, breathing beauty of a flower, with just a few brushstrokes, is a noble challenge that Amy rises to with apparent ease. She uses color as if it were DNA to build the essentials in her arrangements. The patterns in her work are themselves a success. I'll let Amy's own words from our tiny interview speak about them :
Question 1: Do you make up your background patterns or get them from textile patterns you love?
Amy: "I am obsessed with pattern. I would say about half of the patterns in my paintings are my own creation and the other half are inspired by textiles. I am obsessed with fabric and I have been known to stop people to take pictures of patterns on their clothes. I enjoy the challenge of finding out how much patterning I can get away with in one painting."
Question 2: Is this acrylic or oil?
Amy: "I work in acrylic. I switched from oil to acrylic about two years ago. My previous work was figurative and very photo realistic so oil was the obvious choice for that. After I got my undergrad, I started teaching art at a private elementary school. I was so excited and enamored with the way young children painted. Their marks are so quick and expressive and they are not afraid of color. I abandoned the way I had been painting for years in search of that child like quality in my own work. It was like starting all over again! Acrylic lent itself to working quickly and giving me those bright punches of color I love so much."
Question 3: Do you arrange the flowers or are they photographs of other's arrangements?
Amy: "I do a little of both. I might paint from an arrangement that I put together or that was given to me. I also work a lot from photographs. I try to use a combination of images and use them to create a unique arrangement on the canvas."
Amy summarizes this show:
My work is a study in arrangements. I am fascinated by the broad spectrum of mood that can be incited in the way that we simply arrange things. My paintings are of flower arrangements in vessels. Much like a florist, I allow color, shape, and texture to guide my decision making in my work. Painting from observation and various photographs makes these arrangements come together in an almost sculptural type of way. The aim of my work is not to create a logical representation of these bouquets but to create a sensuous experience for the viewer instead. In my paintings, the pattern, positive/negative shape relationships and color are streamlined and taut despite the rapid, effortless painting. Through this technique, I hope to capture the delicate balance between how arrangements can create feelings of comfort and tension; of unity and discord."
Amy Hartelust is a contemporary painter and part-time Children’s Programs Coordinator at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tn. She received her BFA in Painting from the University of Memphis and currently sells her work throughout the city. Her paintings are mostly acrylic on canvas and her signature work consists of brightly colored floral arrangements done in a rapid and loose painting style. She has a passion for teaching art to children and cites her years as an art educator as a strong influence on her work.
All images courtesy of the artist, Amy Hartelust © 2014
* Paintings on display and available for purchase in the Fratelli's Cafe Gallery Monday-Saturday 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. A portion of proceeds benefits Memphis Botanic Garden’s arts, education and horticulture programs. Open to the public. Call 636-4100 for information.