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Amanda Sumpter is preoccupied

After the crowded walls of Atelier OPEN, it's a welcome change of pace to have the quiet and contemplative work of Amanda Sumpter in the gallery.

Working first as a painter and then as an installation and performance artist, drawing has always been a constant activity for Amanda who describes it as "bridging the gap between thinking and intuition".

In 2014 a chance encounter with stone carving and letter cutting introduced her to processes that have enabled her to directly apply her intuitive way of working in three dimensions, with each carving evolving like a drawing.

We asked her to tell us a little more about her creative process.

"The starting point is always a deeply personal connection to my Father’s shed – a place that has long stood empty.

Everything that I create has a connection to this place and to the small treasures that I find and keep after each visit.

Initially, it was the last newspaper that he read, made into a pulp and used to line the numerous Golden Virginia tins that he used to store endless mismatched nuts and bolts. Then the shavings and rags, rusted wire, and tools that littered the floor, inked and recorded in print.

But then I stumbled across the slate.

These seminal pieces have enabled me to carve the words that articulated the thoughts. The slate, in all its various sizes and shapes, sits alongside the carvings and has given a meaning, a scale and a place for every mark that I make in my paintings.

The slate was originally part of a fireplace that he had kept because ‘you never knew’ when you might need just such a thing. This became just the thing I needed.

First I carved ‘never another word’, and then ‘imagine…no’. Then ‘Hallelujah, that’ll do ya’, a favourite saying of his, before finally carving an Artaud quote that neatly summarised my unfaltering obsession ‘…I keep in the most precious corner of my head this preoccupation...’

This preoccupation is unrelenting. Each new painting has to start with the dimensions of the slate pieces. Each new carving sits on the slate, or with a ‘treasure’ or a piece of the lead that he left behind after fixing the roof for the final time.

Each piece starts from this point but ends when intuition takes over. The paintings emerge from a cycle of building up and taking away to hide what lies beneath each deceptively simple piece. As each carving evolves, familiar themes and forms move in and out of focus as relationships are created between the curves and planes of the piece and the space in which it sits as a singular object, or as one sculpture connected to another. They hint at an energy that is hidden within the stillness of the stone and, somewhere within this process, they have lent themselves to becoming concrete, tactile aide memoires."

Come and see Amanda's work, alongside the polemic prints of Ysidro Pergamino, in the gallery from 8th September.