My studio practice is built on systems of research; I scan the media-scape for cues, images or phrases that draw connections between human migration, community, mobility, transience and the over-arching politics of architecture. In making, I work at the point where drawing and the mechanical language of print intersect. The images have a sense of magical/minimal realism that is inspired by architectural illustration, comic books, cartoon language, graffiti removal, information graphics, news footage, consumer packaging, instructional manuals and cinematic space/time.
For the past several years my artwork has begun as an investigation of images found in documentary sources, such as the Sunday Edition of The New York Times, on-line news sources, and websites for international aid agencies. I start with clippings depicting the smoking shells of bombed buildings, wreckage left after receding flood waters, tsunami-mangled villages, car bombings, refugee migrations…. Through erasure, drawing and collage, the world of the source begins to change. My media-isolation experiment is intended not to glorify or monumentalize the dystopic events unfolding around us. My interest is in distilling and cataloging the patterns and forms of our daily world through an intuitive editing process. We normally see these kinds of documentary images as topical, disposable, something to process and consume quickly. By sifting through the pictorial evidence of displacement and strife I discover what is hidden in plain view: essential visual elements that let the eye linger and keep the viewer from turning the page.
Artist Bio / CV
Amze Emmons is an artist, illustrator, curator, living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Born in rural upstate New York, he received a BFA Ohio Wesleyan University. He went on to receive his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. His work is exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Currently, he teaches art at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ. Prior to that he taught art at Muhlenberg College, the University of Iowa and the University of Vermont.
He has held solo exhibitions at Spate 1026, Philadelphia; OHT Gallery, Boston; and Works on Paper Gallery, Philadelphia. His work has been exhibited in group exhibitions including EFA Project Spate and the International Print Center, New York; the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington; the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines; Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago; and The Print Center, Philadelphia. Emmons has received numerous awards including a Fellowship in the Arts from the Independence Foundation, an Individual Creative Artist Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Arts Council, and a Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony. His work has received critical attention in New American Paintings, It'sNiceThat blog, and the Coolhunting site, among other publications. Emmons is also a co-founder and contributing editor of the popular art blog, Printeresting.org.