Natural Forces

by Amy Landesberg

The patterns created by the effects of water on our environment are the primary source material for Natural Forces. Fungal growth as on water-damaged surfaces, topographic changes through erosion, formations of air-borne water vapor, the geometry of light passing through water (caustics), the deformation of clay through shrinkage at its loss… Each image, derived from my photography, gps data, or scientific illustration, is studied for its organizational power. Selections from this digital, “factual” data are then converted to one of the most basic analog techniques, ink on paper.  

The ink, itself 95% water, performs in a corresponding manner to what it is set to depict. The capillary spreading stain of ink on wet paper manifests this sympathy between media and concept. The paper, too, is treated, not as a neutral surface, but as material subjected to the patterns and the forces that generate them through hand embossing from the back via hammer and sharpened nail. Each of thousands of embossing marks and their associated points of ink quantify the action; and the work thereby aspires to a suggestion of the passage of time. Another goal is a sense of ‘actuality’ for the imagery, though simultaneously, as they always do, the images open themselves to other readings and interpretations.

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Amy Landesberg is an Atlanta based artist and architect, and her work overlaps this boundary in content, complexity, and scope. Two extremes of scale have characterized it: One is the hyper-personal and intimate scale of, for example, Sprouts, the piece of linoleum flooring sprouting false eyelashes from the project Things Grow Hair. The other is the overtly public, civic and architectural scale of Autoplast, a 2-part installation for the San Diego Airport that explores our disposition to cars through a strategic re-figuration of some of their parts. Two giant walls co-designed by the artist host installations of hundreds of Hyundai Elantra taillights and thousands of generic side view mirrors composed to mimic natural behaviors. Though her work varies widely in form, it is often an exploration of nature as it is filtered through the economic and industrial systems in which it is ubiquitously enmeshed in the twenty-first century.