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Emma Amos

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Emma Amos (b. 1937) is an artist whose practice includes painting, works on paper, weaving and experimental print-making. She was the youngest and only woman member of Spiral, the historic African American collective founded in 1963. She later became a member of the important feminist collective, Heresies, founded in the 1980s. Influenced by modern Western European art, Abstract Expressionism, the Civil Rights movement and feminist ideals, Amos explores the politics of culture and issues of racism, sexism and ethnocentrism through her paintings and works on paper. Her six-decade career considers color theory, texture, innovative printmaking techniques, photo-transfer and collage to engage the art historical canon and how women and Black bodies have been represented within it.

Born in segregated Atlanta, GA, Amos graduated from Antioch College in Ohio in 1958 and the Central School of Art in London in 1960. She subsequently moved to New York and became active in the downtown arts scene, working alongside prominent Spiral artists such as Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, Norman Lewis, Alvin Hollingsworth, and Charles Alston. In 1965, she earned her Masters in Arts from New York University and taught art at the Dalton School in New York. She is also a former Professor and former Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University where she taught for 28 years. Amos received Georgia Museum of Art’s Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson prize in 2016, and in the same year Studio Museum in Harlem honored her as an Icon, along with Faith Ringgold and Lorraine O’Grady. The artist currently resides in New Hampshire.

Her work is in numerous prominent museum collections, including the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; Blanton Museum of Art, TX; British Museum, London; Bronx Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Cleveland Museum, OH; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR; Fowler Museum of Art, Los Angeles; James F. Byrnes Institute, Stuttgart, DE; Museo de las Artes, Guadalajara, MX; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nasher Museum of Art, NC; Newark Museum, New Jersey; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others.

Amos’s works were included in the 2019 exhibition entitled “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her prints and paintings were included the landmark exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85” organized by the Brooklyn Museum in 2017 as well as “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” which opened at the Tate Modern in 2017 and traveled to the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR; the Broad Museum, CA and the de Young Museum, CA.  Her work has further been included at exhibitions held by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2019), the British Museum (2017) and the Musée du quai Branly in Paris (2016.) Her work has also been exhibited in solo exhibitions at RYAN LEE gallery. A forthcoming retrospective entitled “Emma Amos: Color Odyssey” is set to be held by the Georgia Museum of Art in 2021 and will include approximately 60 works spanning her entire career.

Amos’ paintings and original works are represented by RYAN LEE Gallery, New York.
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