In a society whose speed and complexity compounds with each passing moment, I take comfort in simplicity. Simplicity has no tolerance for what is untrue or convoluted. Simplicity inspires honesty. Simplicity yields clarity. What I seek from my experience in this world is what I ask of the work I create and put into it.
The results are forms rooted in the basic building blocks of geometry—the triangle, the square, and the circle. Yet when these shapes are applied to gently curved planes, these simple forms begin to take on qualities associated with human emotions. There is a kindness and an empathy to the way these forms relate to the space they inhabit, a gentleness to the way they move when activated, a curiosity to the way they frame negative space.
To achieve these means I employ the simple medium of clay with equally simple tools—a rolling pin, paddle, and a rasp. I roll out the clay into thick slabs, shaping and joining them to one another as I refine the forms through paddling and rasping. To balance out the deliberate nature of the making, I introduce elements that I cannot control. Temperamental glazes and atmospheric firings fueled by gas or wood require that I let go and surrender the fruits of my labor to the unknown. More often than not, what I pull out of the kiln is a stronger expression than what I put in.
Ultimately, working with clay is what grounds me in this human experience. I believe most of us have or are searching for a physical practice that acts as a metaphor or guide on this journey. For some it’s tennis. For me it’s clay. Through this practice I learn to listen, to be patient, to trust myself, to learn through curiosity and play, to surrender.
Amanda Gentry received her BFA in Design from Boston University, College of Fine Arts, where she minored in Sculpture and Art History. Her work has taken her abroad for study and residencies to both Italy and France, respectively. Her studio is located at Mana Contemporary in Chicago.
2017, SERIOUS/play, Matthew Rachman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2015, I Am Here, Lillstreet Annex Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2013, Expanding, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
2013, Oreiller, Manchester University, Manchester, Indiana
2012, Oreiller, Brainforest Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2017, Taking Shape, Studio Oh!, Chicago, Illinois
2016, Not Just Another Pretty Face, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
2016, Connect, Hyde Park Art Festival, Chicago, Illinois
2016, Peace on Earth, Matthew Rachman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2014, Evanston + Vicinity Biennial, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois
2014, Art from the Heartland, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, Illinois
2014, From the Earth, Tubac Center of the Arts, Tubac, Arizona
2014, 27th Annual Women’s Works, Northwest Area Arts Council, Woodstock, Illinois
2014, Bridgeport Art Center Annual Art Competition, Bridgeport Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
2013, Not Just Another Pretty Face, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
2012, 42nd Annual East Pilsen Artists’ Open House, Chicago Art Department, Chicago, Illinois
Residencies & Scholarships
2012, Pyrenean Pottery Workshop, Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste, France
2008, Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, Colorado