November 15, 2023

Ghada Amer Named New ACP Artist-in-Residence

ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE: Internationally renowned artist Ghada Amer is joining the Arts Council of Princeton as a long-term artist-in-residence.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has announced artist Ghada Amer as a long-term artist-in-residence, working in the studio spaces at the Arts Council to produce a new body of clay and print works.

Amer’s wide-ranging practice spans painting, cast sculpture, ceramics, works on paper, and garden and mixed-media installations. Further, she often collaborates with her longtime friend Reza Farkhondeh. Recognizing both that women are taught to model behaviors and traits shaped by others, and that art history and the history of painting in particular are shaped largely by expressions of masculinity, Amer’s work actively subverts these frameworks through both aesthetics and content. Her practice explores the complicated nature of identity as it is developed through cultural and religious norms as well as personal longings and understandings of the self.

Amer was born in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to Nice, France, when she was 11 years old. She remained in France to further her education and completed both of her undergraduate requirements and MFA at Villa Arson École Nationale Supérieure in Nice (1989), during which she also studied abroad at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass., in 1987. In 1991 she moved to Paris to complete a post-diploma at the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques. Following early recognition in France, she was invited to the United States in 1996 for a residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has since then been based in New York.

Amer’s work is in public collections around the world. Over the next two years, she will produce large ceramic wall hangings. To attain greater structural strength, Amer uses a craggy sculpture clay body mixed with paper pulp. Liquefied colored clay is painted on the surface to contrast with the earthy tan clay, creating fluid and painterly swatches of color. The bold contour lines demarcating her figures are fashioned with inlaid colored porcelain, some smoothed and smeared into the incised lines, while others are rhythmically pressed into place leaving behind a pattern of her fingerprints. The destructive forces of fire and heat inherent in ceramic processes, juxtapose expressionist gestures of color with resplendent porcelain inlay. The result evokes both nature and culture to form a rugged yet graceful beauty, creating an elegant tension. Amer folds, tears, bends, and warps the forms to add a further layer of psychological tension in the work.

Amer will continue her 3-plus year working relationship with ACP Executive Director Adam Welch. “I am looking forward to my residency at the Arts Council of Princeton with Adam and continuing exploring challenging techniques,” said Amer. “He is the only one who can help with this very difficult series.”

Welch echoes her excitement. “Many artists currently converging on the medium generally do so in a manner distinct from their other art practice,” said Welch. “Ghada set out to close the distance across her mediums in her quest to express a vision and develop a language that is uniquely her own, uniquely female.”

Amer will also collaborate with Farkhondeh to work with ACP Master Printer Dave DiMarchi to create a limited print edition.

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