- 05 April 2013
Amy Guidry is an American artist residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. She grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. She attended Loyola University of New Orleans where she received her Bachelors degree in Visual Arts in 1998. She was the recipient of the Loyola University Art Scholarship, which is awarded to only one student per graduating class.
Guidry’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums nationwide including the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, the Alexandria Museum of Art, Brandeis University, the PhilaMOCA, and the Paul & Lulu Hilliard Art Museum. Her work is present in private and public international collections including the Alexandria Museum of Art, The City of Slidell, and the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Guidry’s paintings have been featured in publications such as American Artist, Professional Artist, and Adbusters. Her work has also been featured on MTV’s The Real World, Season 20: Hollywood as well as the upcoming feature film "When Angels Sing."
Amy took some time out to share with me some of her work and the inspiration behind the pieces. Here's what she says:
Nature is a delicate balance of different species relying upon each other. If one is removed, it has a domino effect on all other species. As humans, we often view nature as a means to an end. Animals are seen as pieces and parts- head, rump, wing, and so on. They are no longer sentient beings but things we eat or wear or put on our walls. While I have depicted this common view through animal heads no longer associated with their actual bodies, I have endowed them with personalities or traits that would be considered more "human" to emphasize their importance and do away with the notion that animals are less than humans. In Untitled (Heads) (above) the animals depicted have been endowed with qualities often mistakenly associated with only humans, such as light colored eyes as opposed to large, dark doe eyes. Their faces are expressive and some evoke confidence.
As we progress, much of our advancements have altered the course of nature. We are capable of wiping out entire species at an alarmingly rapid rate. Despite being a dominant species or living in large groups, survival tactics that work in nature are no longer relevant in a human-dominated world. The Pack (above) illustrates this concept while again emphasizing their significance through their eyes and facial expressions.
The concept of ‘survival of the fittest,’ and the painting of the same name (above), no longer only involves one’s advancement against their own species as humans use other species for their own survival as well. Cows are used for food, clothing, as well as labor. In Survival of the Fittest, the cows depicted mimic the often seen images of cows hanging upside down in slaughterhouses. As they fall or jump, they injure the cows below for their own gain, resulting in injuries reminiscent of the slaughterhouse skinning process.
Much of what we kill is wasted or simply hunted to show off as a prize. Trophy (above) uses the heads of animals to address the issue of animals as a means to an end. Buffalo and deer are often mounted or displayed as a source of pride. The heads are stacked in the painting, similar to a totem pole, reminding us of the early Native Americans and though they would kill these animals, no part was wasted.
Our use of animals and the environment has led to practices that could be considered a bizarre perversion of nature. From our everyday use to the most complex scientific discoveries, we have created a new world far removed from that of our original planet. Our food is no longer something we grow or hunt ourselves, but pre-packaged, processed, and mass-produced. Natural’ has become unnatural. We consider it eccentric or bohemian. We, as adults, drink what is essentially breast milk from an entirely different species, yet scoff at the idea of a woman breastfeeding her infant in public. In Mother Nature (above) a calf is seen nursing from a human breast, calling to question our double standards- if this is bizarre, then why is it not when the roles are reversed?
In The Wild West (above), a skeletal horse and human hybrid, suggesting our practices of cloning or combining species, serves as a grim tale of foreboding. The skeleton, the horse skull, and the desert are symbols of cowboys and typical Western imagery. Television Westerns would typically portray life as good vs. bad, when in reality, the land, environment, people, and animals were all seen as a means to an end. The title refers to how the U.S., itself a part of the western hemisphere, is still taking over land, animals, and resources to this day.
As we evolve and adapt, so does nature- sometimes at our expense. Regarding ourselves as the dominant species has led to our complacency and taking the planet for granted. As we pollute and pillage, kill off entire species and threaten the lives of others to near extinction, we become outraged and confused when nature strikes back. We cannot fathom that we could be prey to another. We neglect to consider the ramifications of clearing forests and replacing them with factories. What we consider harmless may one day result in disaster, as illustrated in Vulnerable (above). The dark imagery serves as a reminder to consider the consequences of our actions today.
Upcoming Events for Amy:
Peaceable Kingdom: at Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA, Mar. 3- May 19, 2013
Viewpoints 2013: at Aljira a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ, Apr. 10- May 4, 2013
Amy Guidry is represented by Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, Texas and The Oak Street Gallery in Hammond, Louisiana.
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