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Amber Peck

On view:

March 12 - April 30

Reception: Friday April 15, 2022 6:00 PM 

I began work on “Paper Bandages” in my Brooklyn apartment, about a month after NYC locked down (2020). I wasn’t coping well with the sudden loss and limitations I was experiencing as an artist, grad student, and mother. My school campus closed in March. I lost access to the space and equipment I depended on, the precious time spent with my cohort, and the ability to make art away from my children. Our Thesis shows were canceled, along with graduation. For about a month, I felt so angry at the Universe, and so defeated by my circumstances, I had no idea how to move forward.

Slowly, I started to make things again. I couldn’t continue my studio work, but I had some supportive peers and mentors that said I should do something with my hands, to improve my mental and emotional health. Since our kids occupied the kitchen table, doing online school, I had to work mostly at night. Relying on the things I had on hand, a large ream of white copy paper became my primary material. I made natural dyes to transform the paper, boiling avocado pits and onion skins, trying anything in my kitchen. After dipping the pages into dye, the oven baked unique patterns onto each page. Performing the repetitive tasks of this process soothed me.

I used materials I’d hung on to from years before. I sprayed charcoal drawings with hairspray (“fixing” them) in my bathroom, I painted sheets of paper with calligraphy ink, and I dried everything on a make-shift clothesline in my bedroom. I printed photographs with my basic home printer, then coated them in layers of glue or sewed them into books. The days that I made art felt lighter because I was reclaiming a portion of control in my life, and I wasn’t overthinking it. I was voicing my sadness, longing, and fear through each 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper.

I didn’t know what that loose stack of pages would become once my space and access improved. But at the heart of this body of work are the late nights I worked in my apartment, the focus on getting through each day, and the limitations I both acknowledge and overcome.


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