Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Laura Steward, Aimee Bender.
Polite ladies in Victorian costume dancing on tabletops with chairs worn like hats on their heads; young girls with little foals strapped to their backs; a team of women dutifully mending docile tigers with needle and thread--all of these surreal antics depicted on a bare white ground--this is the jauntily disturbing imagery of Amy Cutler (born 1974), as clear-eyed in its execution as it is enigmatic in content. Cutler's gouaches and drawings on paper have won fans and collectors worldwide, and their winning amalgam of rich imagination and skillful execution, which together update lineages as various as Persian miniature painting, Surrealism, children's fairytale books and Japanese woodblock printing, offers satisfactions rarely found in contemporary art. More recently, Cutler has ventured into sculptural installation, realizing her idiosyncratic world in three dimensions with a work titled "Alteraciones," in which dozens of female figurines--produced from molds handmade by the artist--are gathered around a tabletop and are weaving a thread that binds them to each other. This volume, published for the artist's 2011 exhibition at SITE Sante Fe, is Cutler's second monograph (her first went out of print quickly and is already a rarity), and draws from private and public collections to offer a thorough survey of her work from the late 1990s to the present.
Amy Cutler's exquisitely detailed scenes of women, animals and hybrid beings engaged in otherworldly drama lure the viewer into an enigmatic realm populated by figures with elongated noses, tea-kettle heads or broomstick arms, some wearing altered hoop skirts. She takes inspiration from stories and images encountered in the media, and then mixes them up with Persian miniatures, army survival guides, nineteenth century illustrations, folktales and personal experiences. Her works, which include gouache on paper, paint on wood panel, and drawing, have been described as "snippets of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Hieronymus Bosch and Masterpiece Theatre." Her scenarios are often funny and just as often uneasy--for instance, despite or because of the loving care they give, one group of her women subjects watch as their snowmen-companions melt away. This is the first book on the work of this young Brooklyn-based artist.