Micaela Amato: Exile Traces

On view March 6–May 22, 2011

Succoth, 2004, transparent photo on wood with ink text smeared on plate glass, 14 x 14 inches

Micaela Amato: Exile Traces includes selections from three series, “Ancestral Traces” (2002-2004), “Exiles and Nomads” (1997-2006) and “Ants and Luminous Insects” (2004). These works include transparent photograph collages and gouache paintings on wood or plate-glass, some appended with paper flowers or tulle, and gouache drawings on Japanese paper featuring spiraling “dots,” or “celestial bodies,” suggesting biological cells that refer to a blood disorder from which the artist has suffered. Many of Amato’s works utilize handwritten text, montage, collage and multiple viewpoints to suggest the complexity of her background as a daughter of

Ants and Luminous Insects 1, 2004, gouache drawing on Japanese paper, 42 x 38 inches

a Ladino-speaking Sephardi New York émigré family, who originated in Spain and lived in Rhodes and Turkey, and ultimately emigrated to the Bronx.

“Through my work, I am investigating my ancestral history, and in doing so, I attempt to reconcile my sense of exile and reconstruct my identity. My intention is to undermine racist dictums of ‘purity and blood’ and ethnic cleansing that continues to devour the world,” the artist has stated.

About the Artist

Micaela Amato has exhibited widely since the 1970s, including autobiographical mixed media works that make connections to both historical figures and ordinary people from other times and places. Amato was born in New York City and received her BFA from Boston University and an MFA from the University of Colorado. She is Professor of Art at Pennsylvania State University and has received numerous awards and grants, including from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American-Sephardi Federation. Micaela Amato: Exile Traces is the artist’s first one-person show at a New York museum since 2001. Her recent solo exhibition in Los Angeles was reviewed in the December issue of Art in America.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.