Amanda Paulson gives the viewer barely enough information in her imagery to define a specific time or place: it is almost ghostly and the majority of her work encompasses everyday scenes with strikingly banal tendencies. And yet, they are anything but bland. Next week, her newest exhibition, “Seeing the Unseen” runs at the Independent Media Center. It is a collection of paintings and collages for her BFA Thesis Show that re-examine the quietness of our Midwestern landscape and lifestyle, and asks us to be attentive to the visual commonalities in our all too familiar world. With her show about to open and only a few more weeks left of school (as if she wasn’t busy enough), she answered questions for Smile Politely:
Consumed by: Arranging and re-arranging stuff. I’m obsessed — in my studio, in my paintings, in my room, in my relationships – everything must be just right!
Hometown: Barrington, IL
Tired of…: This endlessly awful weather. Is it spring yet?
One thing you can’t live without: Michael Jackson. Just kidding! Kind of.
Favorite local band: Ben and Zach (at Geovanti’s every Thursday night, baby).
Biggest let down: Chick-fil-A…Did anyone else get real excited and then eat there and think it was the worst eating experience of their life?
What has influenced your style?: Photographer Joel Sternfeld is a huge influence in my art.
Inspiration/motivation for Seeing the Unseen?: What could be more motivational than the end of a college career?
What do you hope people will take from “Seeing the Unseen”?: I hope that people will identify with the humorous and cynical attitudes presented in my work regarding the world we live in, and that they will begin to question their own accustomed ways of seeing their surroundings, including our contemporary landscape, people, and governances.
Which of your paintings would you like to keep for yourself?: From the series “The Days After Tomorrow”, it’s a painting of a janitor’s cart in a hallway. It is truly the painting that started it all.
What was your first painting?: My first ever painting was a sort of abstract landscape with cypress trees outlined in black in front of a red sky. On a high school field trip to River North, I had just seen the work of Anna Pales…hers was much, much better.
Favorite piece in Krannert Art Museum: Have you seen the Jay Ryan exhibit?…Blew my mind!
Love to Hate in Champaign-Urbana: The pedestrian versus car versus bike traffic.
Hate to Love in Champaign-Urbana: Those ever-so-lovely scents that waft to campus from the South Farms.
Amanda Paulson’s exhibit, “Seeing the Unseen”, will be open to the public on Monday, April 7 through Friday, April 18 at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center in Urbana. The opening reception will be held on Wednesday, April 9 between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Entry is free.