AMANDA GRUENWALD | Floor Paintings

September 14 — October 12, 2024

    Amanda Gruenwald’s recent paintings represent a bold new direction – initially inspired by the markings found on her studio drop cloths, where drips, pools, wipes, splashes and sprays of excess paint have accumulated in the process of creating her earlier works. Her new paintings respond to the potential of this residue, navigating the liminal space between intention and concurrent attempts to harness the role of chance.

    She states, “I started by recognising a painterly language and visual grammar in these random marks. My new floor-based paintings respond to these reference points and deploy them into something new and personal.” Working on unstretched canvas on the studio floor allows “a really different experience. I’m able to walk on the canvas and be ‘in’ the painting as I make it. There’s a real connection between the body, the materials and the resulting mark making. I can compose from within the picture.”

    These floor paintings draw on diverse histories – Neo-Impressionism, action and colour field painting, gestural and geometric abstraction – in conversation with an array of contemporary international and local practices. She notes, “I’m more interested in discovering my own grammar of painting through experimentation than responding directly to philosophy or critical theory. I’m a very visual and tactile person – I think through looking and doing. When I look at painting, I primarily see how other artists are thinking and expressing through the physical use of their media. This outlook is fundamental to how I develop my own visual grammar and logic in my work. I’m thinking about composition, but I’m also thinking about the body-mind connection required to manifest it.”

    She notes, “by ‘visual grammar’ I mean mark making and the thinking and experience behind it. Certain types of marks are tied to an artist or a movement – they point to a certain time, they achieve something unique optically – they’re solving a visual problem, pushing the medium forward in some way. They’re a waypoint in the historical narrative of painting. They’re a tool in a painter’s arsenal that can be used and built upon to create one’s own personal visual language. I gravitate towards this aspect of painting.”

    In the process of reflection and re-creation, these floor paintings retrace aspects of her earlier work while extending into new forms – forms which also open a new dimension in her practice. Traces, echoes, doublings, foils and reversals of her earlier work are glimpsed in these works. She makes particular reference to the right-angled marks produced by pouring paint over the hard edge of an earlier stretched canvas, the excess paint spilling over the sides and onto the drop cloth. In response, she has applied aerosol paint in a similar way, on top of a right-angled object, so that the painting surface is left partially exposed in relief. A bleeding edge, if you will. 

    Amanda Gruenwald lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2012. Her career highlights include Surface Affect at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre with Jeena Shin and Michael Zavros in 2017, and a major commission of nine works for Cordis Hotel Auckland in association with Coupland Cormack in 2021. Floor Paintings is the artist’s third solo show with Trish Clark Gallery.

    • Studio shot - work in progress