Join date: Jun 13, 2019

Amelia Biewald works with a wide variety of materials creating painterly drawings and sculptural works, which often culminate in large multi-textural installations. I received a BFA from R.I.S.D. and Goldsmith’s College, University of London and then pursued installation artwork at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where I received my MFA. I have received various artist awards, residencies and fellowships for my work including the Skowhegan Residency, a Bush Foundation Fellowship and a Jerome Fellowship. She splits her time between Minneapolis, MN and Brooklyn, New York.

Biewald creates large provocative installation worlds combining playfulness with seduction while maintaining an incredible level of craft. Extensive research into both historical narratives and physical materials provide a unique new look into multi-layered environments that provoke a sense of wonder and desire, but also a potential for menace. She recreates intrigues, telling stories about the confluence of myth, history, science and scandal.

She is currently working to recreate a bizarre true story from eighteenth century England where rumor and superstition clash with medical prowess fueling media frenzy and political disruption. This is the curious case of Mary Toft, or The Rabbit Breeder. She began giving birth to rabbits, and didn’t stop for months. She was thought to be a medical marvel, and had England fascinated in 1726. The king sent experts, and the case was widely publicized though text, print and stage. Medical science was in its infancy, and a mix of superstition, fable, and sexism prevailed. Women’s anatomy was a mystery, and male doctors had countless imaginative theories. One of these theories was that of “maternal impression”, or that when a child is born he or she takes on characteristics of the mother’s surroundings, dreams, and desires. Prenatal influences could shape a fetus. This put considerable fault on women and also had connotations of the preternatural and even witchcraft.

Biewald’s work is influenced by these theories and the printed matter of the time. She references the satirical etchings of William Hogarth. There is a considerable level of control in her strokes and cross hatching, but layers these brush strokes over the beautiful, but highly uncontrollable process of paper marbling created by floating a succession of inks on water. Each of these paintings offer a glimpse into what might have actually happened during those strange months in 1726. These works will be exhibited within the larger site-specific installation, The Toft Affair. Here Biewald will surround the viewer with custom wallpaper dedicated to the affair, along with lush hand painted velvet draperies. A stylized conveyer belt whisks what appear to be rabbits from Mary Toft’s skirts in a cyclical deception. Silk and velvet rabbits with varying levels of human characteristics inhabit the space, some reaching out to be held. A few look like they have Mary’s eyes.

With comedic playfulness, Biewald intertwines fact and fiction and blurs the boundaries between the possible and the impossible. She creates tinged bucolic worlds of mystery, imagination and eerie beauty.

Amelia Biewald
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