September sees Projects Gallery celebrating its eighth season opener with the second solo show of paintings and assemblages of Margery Amdur. Ms. Amdur is well known to the Philadelphia art world for her imaginative mixed media constructions. Using American kitsch as a launch pad for immense and complex contemporary art constructs, her works come alive with innovation, sensitivity and creative verve. As she enters the world of kitsch, she also touches on traditional women’s art-making techniques and household games, such as paint-by-number kits. All of this comes together in large-scale works on paper and innovative collages. Ms. Amdur is neither a pure painter, yet she uses painting strategies; a printmaker, although she employs numerous printmaking processes; a sculptor, yet she frequently works openly on the floor and wall as would a classical sculptor; nor a textile artist, though her works flow filled with textiles and elements essential to the textile artist. She has, at times, referred to herself as an installation artist, a painter and a sculptor; but in reality these titles all fall far from the mark when describing the unique form that has evolved into the Margery Amdur we see here. In short, she is a builder of images, often seeming to build them right in front of our eyes.
The artist is fresh from a year and a half of work designing and overseeing the creation of a 4,000 sq.ft. public art piece, “Walking on Sunshine,” permanently installed in SEPTA’s Broad and Spring Garden Street station. This immense, complex and delightful painting that one walks upon greets the weary or rushing traveler with a smile of color and light at their feet. Its fluid and vivid shapes and textures brighten this formerly gloomy station with surprising aplomb.
Amdur, the relentless experimenter, enters these forms again in a number of works seen here with a liberating sense of play, surprising for a project that most artists would find exhausting. Using this sense of childlike wonder, she emerges with a fresh take on her own creation, allowing the viewer an experience equal in uplift to the subway installation but adapted for a completely new space and audience. Using every skill and technique that years of experimentation have taught her, she brings to Projects an exuberant body of work defiant in its nature but celebratory in its success to animate the walls of the gallery and lift our eyes to a new level of appreciation for this remarkable artist.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Margery Amdur received her B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Margery has had over 60 solo and two-person exhibitions. Her international exhibitions include Turkey, Hungary, Poland and England. In addition to her studio practice, she has begun to curate and organize national exhibitions, including To Be Or Not To Be, A Painters Dilemma ’2009,’ and Seeing Voices, The Authentic Visual Voice ’2010.’ She is the recipient of more than a dozen awards and grants and has been reviewed in national and international publications, including Sculpture Magazine, Fiber Arts, New American Paintings, New Art Examiner, Art Papers, and the Manifest International Publication (INPA). This past summer Margery was an artist in residence at Virginia Center for Creative Art, and will be exhibiting a floor installation in Art Prize 2012.