Dimensions: 210 x 210
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Enter the world of yellow. This exhibition submerges us in a sunshine-doused ‘world of yellow’ and its attendant emotions, while also exploring a monochrome counterpoint in prints. The painter and printmaker Amanda Danicic wants the viewer to ‘feel the colour first’ before they become aware of shapes or any references to places or people. To Amanda, colour is a language in itself – something that can communicate ideas, moods and stories. She uses yellow in this newest series of paintings to speak to her audience in a novel, emotive way: ‘I made these paintings to make me happy – the yellow shines out from the walls and makes me smile. It is so uplifting, like a magical colour. It glows and emits good energy’.
Yellow becomes everything, but not everything becomes yellow. This is a fine balance. Amanda uses complementary colours, like lilac or deep purple, to alter how the yellow recedes away from or jumps out at the viewer. The purplish bouquet – or perhaps it’s a pile of fabrics in a multitude of patterns? – in my favourite painting in this exhibition, Sunny Afternoon, tempers the range of yellows in the piece, anchoring the world of yellow to our lived reality and putting the bright colour blocks into perspective. Amanda uses colour theory and her intuition – as well as a dose of randomness – to choose her yellows to evoke a certain mood.
In her paintings and prints, whether in yellow or in black and white, Amanda wants to catch the depicted scene quickly: ‘Each work captures a specific moment of time – you must accept what the moment gives you’. The movement and momentary quality of her paintings reminds me of Van Gogh’s depictions of willowy yellow grasses or drooping yellow sunflowers. Van Gogh’s yellows are similar to Amanda’s; they are milky and soft, not overly bright, and they are strengthened and nuanced by the complementary use of purples and blues.
Line is another visual language that can be used alongside colour to communicate ideas and moods. Amanda uses the evocative phrase ‘taking a line for a walk’ to describe how she sketches out her compositions. According to the artist, ‘This line is like a tightrope walker balancing. It is a meditative process, very focused’. In line drawing Amanda has been influenced by Modernist masters such as Toulouse-Lautrec (especially his lithography) and Picasso, but also by fairy tale and graphic illustrators such as Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey and Aubrey Beardsley. Amanda’s own father is a more personal influence on her understanding of linear black and white. He was a mathematician and an amateur photographer and, like Amanda, he liked to capture the unposed, unaltered moment. From a young age Amanda helped him develop his black-and-white photographs in his darkroom, and she believes that this has had a profound effect on how she deals with tone in her monochrome printmaking.
Amanda has always been fascinated by interiors, as frequent visitors to Eames Fine Art will know. She has thus far delighted us with tea kettles and sugar bowls, cut flowers and portraits of friends and family members sitting on plush couches or armchairs. A black cat prone to lounging features prominently in this new series of prints and paintings. Reflecting on this last year and a half of enforced domesticity, Amanda states that she loves ‘the idea of looking at something ordinary but being uplifted by it as if it were a magnificent view. We’ve spent so much time in our homes recently and it’s made me realise how beautiful life is, and how the people and things we surround ourselves with are so important to our wellbeing.’ She gives us a glimpse into her ordinary domestic life, which is either flattened into a graphic scene in her monochrome prints or doused in liquid sunshine in her paintings. We see ourselves in her interiors, especially perhaps in the frustrated anticipation, with hands on head, of watching England’s football team in the print It’s Comin’ Home.
Amanda has found her work with the difficult pigment of yellow incredibly rewarding. We’ve found that living with these paintings is rewarding to the viewer as well. Amanda initially wanted to ‘chase yellow’ because of the luminous yellow Welsh poppies that appeared in her garden this year; she wanted to bring the uplifting feeling that she experienced in her own outdoor space directly to us. We are delighted to provide in the Eames Fine Art Print Room a deep dive into Amanda’s world of yellow and into an appreciation of how colour bounces off and plays with more monochrome works. Thank you, Amanda, for giving us all this chance to chase some yellow this summer.
Christine Slobogin, July 2021