Yes Please Thank You

Yes Please Thank You is a solo exhibition of new paintings by Portland-based artist Amy Bay, taking place at Melanie Flood Projects. Amy spoke to our subeditor Grace Warde-Aldam about her work.

"I have always been drawn to floral and decorative imagery but it’s not lost on me that their associations with the feminine, and the ways that that has played out historically, are deeply problematic.  So my relationship to this type of imagery has been somewhat ambivalent over the years.

"My current work draws from disparate decorative sources such as wallcoverings, Early American embroidery, greeting cards and floral still life paintings. My studio is full of books on textiles and printouts from textiles found online in places like the Victoria & Albert Museum wallpaper database. Ultimately I make what I consider to be a tactile translation of the original material in paint. I bulk up the paint with marble dust, graphite powder, glitter or dried out paint from palette scrapings. I use too much medium in spots so that the skin of the paint dries faster than the body of the paint, causing a blistering or puckering of the surface.  I like doing things the “wrong” way; pushing back a bit at any expectation of mastery."

"The idea of these paintings as being somewhat frivolous really appeals to me.  When I tell people I paint flowers I often see their eyes glaze over with boredom.  I see parallels to being a female in this culture. I think about the ways girls and women are seen as frivolous and are easily dismissed - even within the history of art they have been dismissed.  It’s very upsetting! I know things are changing and the hierarchies are being questioned but it isn’t happening fast enough."

"Poetry has been feeding into the ways I think about the work lately too. I love the poet Bernadette Mayer and the way her work and life are almost indistinguishable in her poems.  Some of my titles reference Mayer’s epistolary poems from her Sonnets and The Desire of Mothers to Please Others. Flowers have always been conveyors of sentiment, so it seems fitting to frame them in these ways."

Yes Please Thank You is showing at the Melanie Flood Projects until 8 September 2018. 

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