Amy Kaufman: Recent Work

March 20 – May 15, 2021

Traywick Contemporary is pleased to announce an exhibition featuring recent work by Bay Area artist Amy Kaufman. Represented by Traywick Contemporary since 1997, Kaufman will present new paintings and works on paper that reflect the extent of her practice.

Kaufman has a career-long focus on pattern and repetition, working in a variety of media such as paint, charcoal, pastel, silverpoint, and graphite, to transform fixed stripes, meandering lines, and accumulations of shapes into bold compositions that suggest space and movement. Continually shifting between figuration and abstraction, her work conveys a tension between the tactile and the illusory.

With an ongoing immersion in the history of art, Kaufman is inspired by a diverse range of sources that span centuries of creating and an expansive array of approaches. In developing her recent series, she engages with the elaborate techniques and materials of Islamic art including illuminated manuscripts and miniatures, textiles, mosaics, metal work, as well as more contemporary art practices that are process-driven. Her thoughtful awareness of the world, as well as a curiosity in the everyday, allows her to translate careful observations of specific sources like Ottoman calligraphy or seemingly ordinary designs of tire treads, into complex works whose origins and references are often obscured.

When combining these wide-ranging influences with her own vocabulary of repeated lines and shapes, Kaufman also changes scale and format to create absorptive abstractions in which subject and process merge. Her formal explorations move beyond the act of applying paint to canvas or marks on paper and dissolve otherwise limiting distinctions: past/present, functional/ornamental, abstract/representational.

In Kaufman’s recent work there is a literal and metaphorical act of illumination through the use of gold and silver metallic inks and paints, which reflect and scatter light. The works themselves are not quite flat and not quite static, as they are punctuated by the slight variations of the artist’s hand. Imagery rises up and fades, inviting multiple perceptions of depth of field along with the illusion of movement on the works’ surface. It is the luminous quality of these surfaces that moves in accordance to the viewers position, resulting in a dance between subject, painting and viewer.

Amy Kaufman has exhibited her work extensively since receiving her fine arts degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1990. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, CA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; The Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA; Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA; and The United States Embassies in Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuwait.

Amy Kaufman 2021

Five gold rex, 2020. Oil on linen, 62 x 54″.

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