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Susan Amons

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Susan Amons is a master printmaker whose large-scale monoprints invite the viewer to explore a mysterious menagerie of long-legged birds, fearless crows, and roaming beasts. In her panoramic monotype Caribou Migration III, ghosted shapes allude to waves of these migrating animals headed north, one of the greatest wildlife sights on Earth. Birds inhabit many of her scenes, and like the willowy blue herons and egrets they depict, her avian monoprints are graceful arrays of layered colors, marks, and ghosted shapes. The effect can be otherworldly.

Amons’ monoprints are made from mylar shapes that she inks, prints, and re-inks. Each print is built with layers of colors, ghosted shapes, and alternating spatial relationships with pastels into the surface. She uses a variety of techniques, including monotype, drypoint, and transfer / chine colle. Susan Amons developed her unique combination of printmaking techniques while on fellowships at the Women's Studio Workshop in New York, and the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation on Great Cranberry Isle in Maine.

Amons’ work has been in countless solo and group exhibitions, publications, and she has been the recipient of numerous Maine Percent for Art Commissions, awards, grants, and fellowships. Amons’ work is included in the collection of the Portland Museum of Art.

“These are all major works by an artist with a singular and committed vision. . . . In Amons’ most fully realized works, the result is bewtiching” — Philip Isaacson, Maine Sunday Telegram

May 25, 2003
by Philip Isaacson

Susan Amons: Vernal Migratins

Susan Amons’ new monotypes are ethereal. To my eye they begin where Audubon’s essays in the surreal leave off. They have a dreamlike quality that fits that term, but that’s only a part of what I see. I also see Japanese screens and a lyricism that I can’t assign to anyone else. I don’t suppose that surrealism and poetry often find a common home, but in Amons’ work, they are convivial. Her beasts—principally, caribou– and her birds– snow geese, egrets, and heron—share a world that is a touch beyond the real. It isn’t quite a classic Peaceable Kingdom, but there is a tranquility in their world that speaks of that idyll. The motivation is consistent with it, although the presentation draws from Japanese or Chinese suggestions about landscape and depth. In Amons’ most fully realized works, the result is bewitching.

The artist’s use of the monotype process and the scale of the work cater to this. The principle images in the largest prints (actually, they are touched with pastel) find themselves repeated—sometimes in reverse – in restrikes or ghosts and this contributes to the ephemerality, to the vision, of a work. For example, in “Caribou Migration,” the figure of the animal appears in various intensities and on various missions. Your eye tells you that this is one and the same creature but it’s reappearance in various guises is the compound from which the surreal arises. One caribou in many places and in many states of substantiality all at the same time moves the work well beyond the real.

The artist’s use of the monotype process and the scale of the work cater to this. The principle images in the largest prints (actually, they are touched with pastel) find themselves repeatedsometimes in reverse—in restrikes or ghosts and this contributes to the ephemerality, to the vision, of a work. For example, in “Caribou Migration,” the figure of the animal appears in various intensities and on various missions. Your eye tells you that this is one and the same creature but it’s reappearance in various guises is the compound from which the surreal arises. One caribou in many places and in many states of substantiality all at the same time moves the work well beyond the real.

This is so to a somewhat lesser extent in “Snow Geese II” and “Snowy Egrets II.” In them, the relationship between these large prints (some as large as 37 inches by 76 inches) and screen paintings is more expressed.

These are all major works by an artist with a singular and committed vision.

Catalog

Susan Amons: Tidal Edges
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