I create sculptures made from painted and sewn fabric, used domestic objects, and traditional fine art materials such as plaster, ceramic, and acrylic paint. My works take the form of non-gendered ambiguous bodies that hang, stand, or lean in seek of support. For me, I know each work is complete when it has become a body with its own autonomy –a character with its own singular personality. I want each sculpture to become animate, seeming if ready to walk away, lean with humor, flop with sadness, or teem with sexuality.
I am interested in a body and interiority as subject matter. I am not as much of a viewer in the world as one that feels through the world – my work is informed by internal physical and mental states over external stimuli. My experience as an athlete and my father’s legacy as a local football hero as well as his battle with Parkinson’s Disease has trained me to be attuned to the body. I am accustomed to negotiating the connection between physical and mental states, and my strong connection to my own physicality is reflected in my work.
I was raised by a single father from the age of 8 years old, and my primary memories of my mother are watching her at the sewing machine or observing her hands as she stitched. When I sew in the studio, it is the only time I feel like my mother’s daughter. My work is driven by ideas of touch, layers and pairs. I create illusions with materials and surfaces; painted canvas is made to look like leather, and wood is converted into “foam.” My interest in hiding and concealment is played-out in the misidentification of materials. I have a background in painting, and I consider the painted surfaces in my work to act as a skin or a garment that clothes or encases each sculptural personality.
I utilize once-used furniture and domestic items rescued from the trash. Furniture can easily be anthropomorphized, as it is infused with a prior life and relationship with the body. I am attracted to retired furniture because of their buried histories unknown to me. The surfaces of discarded items hold scars that function as a visible record of time and act as a guide for how I approach and revise their form. I add my own record to these objects through the manipulation of their structures and by wrapping, weaving and sewing into them to create a new character.
Amy Butowicz was born and raised in Akron Ohio. She received a BA in Studio Art from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her MFA from Hunter College in New York City.
Her practice moves fluidly between painting and sculpture to create allegorical narratives that explore the sexual body and its degeneration. Butowicz has been awarded fellowships and scholarships to attend DNA Residency in Provincetown, MA, Salem Art Works in Salem, NY, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Summer Studio Program, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga Wyoming, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Colorado. She is a 2019 nominee for the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist in New York Grant. Her recent solo exhibitions include Pantomime at The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado, Inhabit at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, A Room to Hoist at Hunter College, New York City, New York and Hiding in Plain Sight at Underdonk, Brooklyn, New York.