TITLE: Monday Muse - Olga de Amaral
DATE: 2/14/2005 06:16:00 AM
When I was a little girl I remember going fishing with my dad, and sometimes my brother. I think it was the ritualistic part of fishing that made it fun then, and now makes it fascinating... Heading out early in the morning. Tackle box, bucket and net in hand. Casting the line out into silvery water. Then, sitting back and waiting patiently for a bite. Hauling the fish in, feeling the weight and power of the struggling animal. It was equal parts entertainment and fright, then and now.
I am reminded of this when I look at Olga de Amaral’s work. A rainbow effect of light across a wall, like waves of water or fringe made of fish scales. Each piece is made of canvas or silk, or sometimes weightier materials, then covered in gold or silver leaf. The result is stunning. Her pieces contain light, water, and fire. They are alive because they hold the same power that sears money or a piece of jewelry with a sense of value.
To me, Olga de Amaral’s work is about more than raw monetary or celebrity power though. It’s also tightly woven with memory. A piece that might seem to remind some of sequined gowns, instead sings to me about the same strong and simple power I found when my father took me fishing. Think about it: often our memories don’t carry color or take up a three dimensional space. Instead memory is more frequently filled with ideas, feelings, and a sense of light or space or time. Like her pieces, memory is perceivable but intangible. They avoid literal translation.
Because Olga de Amaral’s work is formulaic, I think some would assume it to be more craft than art. I wonder what your opinion is. If you create objects of beauty based on a system, is this considered art, craft, design, or just decoration?