Ethos: The Alchemy of Spirit and Light
May 6 – July 6, 2022
London Amara – Ethos: The Alchemy of Spirit and Light is now open in the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum’s Kinney-Lindstrom Gallery. It is sponsored locally by the David & Phyllis Murphy Charitable Foundation and the John K. & Luise V. Hanson Foundation.
Photography has a long relationship with the great American wilderness, but discoveries remain to be made. And by immersing us in the dense woodlands of Florida, Ohio, California, and British Columbia, London Amara has established a practice that is both timeless and contemporary. Amara, who began her career as a painter, has shifted from abstraction toward a focus on human and other natural forms. Informed by pivotal experiences in her own life—a car crash in 2009, for example, solidified her interest in the symbolic complexities of the body—her current art is closely aligned with the visual language of the organic world.
In 2017, Amara began to experiment with large-format collodion wet plate photography, an antique but still powerfully evocative medium. The artist develops her pictures on site using an ice-fishing tent as a mobile darkroom, an unusually direct process that augments and extends the most significant formal qualities of her earlier output. The results—large-scale alternative process photographic prints—are both visually lush and emotionally affecting. In these works, Amara’s passion for the outdoor life is juxtaposed and combined with intimate portraiture depicting family and friends bound up with the places they inhabit.
While romantic, Amara’s images resist sentimentality; the realities of death and decay are a consistent presence, as is a concern for our planet’s future. In her work, the human influence is both a creative and destructive one. Indeed, there’s a consistent sense of longing to her images, and an aura of ancient, intuitive wisdom. She’s an admirer of Sally Mann, whose own images of family are at once oneiric in their atmosphere and all-too-real in their focus on sensual detail, and of Justine Kurland, who also locates the human body in sites at once picturesque and threatening.
But while Amara’s discovery of the wet plate process has been transformative, it remains a means to an end; she refuses to fetishize her equipment, focusing our attention instead on its uniquely affecting—and universally accessible—products.
London Amara was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1977. An alumnus of Columbus College of Art and Design, she has exhibited at the Columbus Conservatory (1998), Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers, Florida (2009, 2013, and 2018), and Tampa Museum of Art (2016). She has also undertaken commissions for clients including the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, and was the recipient of the 2013 Vincent LeCavalier Commemorative Commission. Amara’s work is represented in the collections of Allstate Insurance, Diamond District, Fine Mark Bank, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Innisbrook Resort, and has been discussed in Art SWFL, Arts Tampa Bay, duPont REGISTRY, Florida Weekly, Grandeur, Gulf Coast Times, Fort Myers Magazine, Fort Myers News-Press, and Spotlight. It is also the subject of a 2012 film from Rising Sky Studios (now Digital Caviar). Amara is currently at work on a book scheduled for publication in 2020.
Amara maintains studios in Columbus, Ohio, and Bonita Springs, Florida, and is represented by Katharine T. Carter and Associates. For further information contact Katharine T. Carter, Katharine T. Carter and Associates: firstname.lastname@example.org, 518.758.8130.
The Charles H. MacNider Art Museum is open to the public and admission is free of charge.