31 Women

Shannon Amidon A Curious Place - 31  Women

SHANNON AMIDON: A Curious Place

Encaustic  
40 x 30 in

Shannon Amidon never went to galleries or museums growing up and didn’t really have an idea of what fine art was as a child. Nonetheless she always knew she loved creating and making things. In college she discovered photography and fell in love with the medium and the dark room. Having no formal training or skills in drawing or painting, photography was a natural and exciting way for her to express herself. She took photography courses, including an alternative process photography class with Brian Taylor (SJSU) that became a profound influence. Professor Taylor was “a generous and encouraging teacher and an incredible artist.” His work opened a new world for Amidon through a mixed media approach to photography. For Amidon this was a method to make the hand of the artist evident in her photography. She painted on emulsions, printed on fabric, wood and other substrates, and experimented with cameraless techniques. Over the years, Amidon’s practice has changed and evolved significantly, but she says her “first love and roots will always be in photography.” Broadly Amidon’s artwork explores themes of nature, science and our environmental impact. The cycles of life, death and impermanence play a primary role in her work. Amidon feels that art should be an investigation similar to science, by asking questions, researching and seeking to see things in new or different ways. Curiosity is fundamental in her practice. As the cycles of life, curiosity, discovery and science inspire Amidon, so does the act of art making itself. Among women artists, she is drawn to the work of Eve Hesse, admiring her dedication to material and process. She is also encouraged by the work of Neri Oxman and Zaria Forman and sees them “really pushing the boundaries and shining a creative light on climate change and the environment.” Several significant life experiences, both personal and professional, have impacted Amidon’s work. In the last decade she lost seven loved ones within seven years, including her parents and grandparents. During this time, she also became a new mother to an amazing daughter. This duality of life and death, as well as becoming a mother as she lost her own, significantly changed her practice, color palette and the meaning of her work. Amidon explains that her “art went through a complete sea change. Most surprising is that it didn’t make it darker or melancholy, in fact observing and experiencing these cycles of life firsthand gave my work more hope, lightness and depth.”

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