Fish, Amanda Donohue
Amanda completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) degree at Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney University in 2001. She continued her studies to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Cross Disciplinary Art & Design from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW in 2013. Amanda was a recent finalist in the Manly Artist Book Award (2013) and in the prestigious printmaking Silk Cut Award (2012). While the focus of her degree was printmaking, her love of textiles and interest in the genderisation of embroidery, have been strong influences on her. The domestic, innocence, embroidery and popular media are used in her works to weave together issues of gender stereotypes and sexual commodification. While practicing as a printmaker she simultaneously continued her personal textile projects and now works as a printmaker and textile artist. Amanda uses a broad range of techniques in her textile pieces including dying, screen-printing, lino printing and collaging. Textiles, trims and buttons collected from family members and friends, or recycled from op shops, are included, evoking meaning and memory. Little is wasted; button holes are integrated and old stitching lines are featured. Soft, torn edges are preferred over neat turned hems; the selvedge becomes a feature. And is there a right side to fabric? Hand stitching is predominant in Amanda’s textile works where fabrics are dyed and stitched, printed and reformed. Various stitches are used, but simple, honest, running stitch is favoured. The practice of hand sewing was said by Sigmund Freud to facilitate hysteria but the meditative state induced by the slow, repetitive action is welcomed in todays past paced and electronically dependant life. The stuff of myths, Penelope (Homers Odyssey) buys time waiting for her husbands return by secretly undoing the weaving she completes by day. Her exhibition Undercurrent began with a series entitled Water Maidens that questioned women’s role with regards to that essential life force ‘water’. Fancy a Swim, explored the fantasy mermaid, seen in several places in contemporary society: James Boag beer advertisements with the ‘Sirens of Bass Straights’, the new tradition of brides trashing their wedding dress in a water based photography session and Pirates of the Caribbean, where a mermaid’s tear can provide eternal life to the drinker. Many of the works in this exhibition allude to the popular mermaid fantasy; the saccharine coated female waiting to lure men, by means of enchanted singing, to the rocks and then to their deaths. And, although the works explore the femme fatale role, who didn’t want to be Marina in Stingray when growing up?