Ambera Wellmann

(Wo)man and Beast in the Round of Their Need
Opening: Thursday 11 October 2018, from 5h30 to 8h00 pm, artist in attendance
Exhibition: October 11 to November 17, 2018


“Woman and Beast in the Round of Their Need

Farm boys wild to couple

With anything    with soft-wooded trees

With mounds of earth    mounds

Of pinestraw    will keep themselves off

Animals by legends of their own

In the hay-tunnel dark

And dung of barns.

 

In a museum in Atlanta

Way back in a corner somewhere

There’s this thing that’s only half

Sheep    like a wooly baby

Pickled in alcohol.

Merely with his eyes, the sheep-child may

Be saying    saying

 

I am here, in my father’s house

I who am half of your world, came deeply

To my mother in the long grass

Of the sweet pasture, where she stood like moonlight

Listening for foxes. It was something like love

From another world that seized her

From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head

Out of dew, without ever looking, her best

Self to that great need.

 

Turned loose, she dipped her face

Further into the chill of the earth, and in a sound

Of sobbing    of something stumbling

Away, began, as she must do, to carry me.

In the summer sun of the hillside, with my eyes

Far more than human, I saw for a blazing moment

The great grassy world from both sides,

Man and beast in the round of their need.

My hoof and my hand clasped each other

And the hill wind stirred in my wool.

(A freely adapted translation of “The Sheep Child”, from James Dickey: The Selected Poems, Wesleyan University Press, 1998).”


Ambera Wellmann is a Canadian artist working in painting, assemblage, photography and video. Wellmann graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2011) and earned her MFA from the University of Guelph, Ontario (2016). She is the recipient of the Joseph Plaskett award (2016) and the recipient of the RBC Canadian Painting Award (2017). Her works have been exhibited at the Power Plant, Toronto, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and the National Gallery of Canada. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Wellmann gratefully acknowledges the support from the Canada Council of the Arts. In this recent series of paintings, Wellmann continues her investigation of porcelain as a bodily substitute and a vehicle for perversion, manipulating the sensuality of painted surfaces to blur the distinctions between material and flesh. Wellmann’s paintings hybridize a range of canonical motifs, transposing the grandiosity of historical figuration into intimately realized, darkly humorous works.

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