Meet Amanda Leigh Evans!
Learn more about Project 387 resident Amanda Leigh Evans' inspirations, processes, and work in the interview below!
Tell us briefly about the focus of your work. What are some of the themes you are exploring these days?
At Project 387 I’ll be working on a set of ceramic dishes influenced by research on artists who have done work near Gualala. The work will look at the work of radical feminist potter/educator Marguerite Wildenhain and Anna + Lawrence Halprin’s RSVP Cycles.
I am constantly thinking about craft practices, the quotidian, and social practice. This summer I’ve spent a great deal of time researching the history of communal and radical movements on the west coast, particularly focusing on the 60’s and 70’s. I’m still digesting that research but feel it will have a long term effect on my work as I think about social practice and pedagogy.
Lately, I’ve also been very interested in scores and their capacity to all for simultaneous intuition and framing. Before I turned to art, I was really into music composition and made work heavily influenced by composers Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Adam Rudolph. Using scores in my current practice allows that structure and rhythm to move back into my work.
What are you looking at, reading, or listening to right now that is influencing your work or process?
- Call Your Girlfriend - a podcast about feminism, pop culture, the internet, and friendship.
- Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren - a book written about the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete aesthetic ideal of wabi sabi.
- Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism by Chris Jennings - a history of early American communes and radical culture in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates - A beautifully written letter to a young black man about race in America. Toni Morrison calls it “required reading”.
- Country Women magazine (not to be confused with Country Woman) - an out of print magazine published in the 70’s and 80’s with an incredible collection of rural radical feminist articles about art, farming, relationships, and back to the land movements.
This really varies depending on the day and the project. Often, I am working on collaborative projects either with specific community groups or with other artists, so my practice involves a lot of correspondence and meetings. I relish the full studio days when I can sit quietly and work on my ceramic work without interruption. I see the studio as a space that defines all areas where the work is being created and I think it is important not to limit the definition of studio to a secluded space of production. To me, both types of work happen in my “studio”, but that space is fluid and expanded.
What's the best advice someone has given you about your work? The worst?
There have been a few times in my career where I have faced significant forks in the road and I had to choose between great but completely different options. When I had two good paths before me, I was difficult for me to determine what I really wanted or who, in my core, I really was. I would poll all of my mentors on their perspective and what I wanted was someone to just tell me which path was better and which I should choose. Of course, it doesn’t work like this. The best advice and support I received was from people who listened and helped me find myself in these decisions, rather than telling me which option they thought was the better deal.
I usually reject any advice that encourages me to be less tenacious or more conforming to traditional gender roles.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows/events/happenings?
Yes! Just before Project 387 I’ll be a fellow Mildred’s Lane, I have a show opening in Portland in late July, and I have a book coming out with Fritz Haeg at some point on the history of Salmon Creek Farm. I’m also also working in a collaborative team to present a project on conversations about Race at the Art in Odd Places festival in NYC in October.
What are you most looking forward to at Project 387?
I am SO excited to have two weeks of concentrated, uninterrupted time to explore and synthesize this work that means so much to me but needed this concentrated, contextualized time in order for it to come into the world. I’m also very much looking forward to meeting the other residents and learning from their practices.