Recently, New England Wax member Kimberly Curry had an opportunity to talk with artist Amy Stacey Curtis, who was happy to share her thoughts about her art.
In 1998, Curtis started what would be an 18-year commitment to interactive installation art with 9 solo-biennial exhibits. Between the years from 2000 to 2016. Curtis will have installed 81 large-in-scope, interactive works in the vast mills of eight or nine Maine towns. Each solo-biennial exhibit is a 22-month process, each exploring a different theme while inviting audience to perpetuate its multiple installations. Curtis has committed to this ephemeral work to convey that everyone and everything affects everyone and everything, no matter how small or fleeting the impact. Curtis’s 9th and final biennial is MEMORY (September 17–October 28, 2016) and her intention to mount this last biennial in Lewiston, the town that hosted the first. Amy’s website (www.amystaceycurtis.com) has a complete documentation of all the exhibits to date including photos and videos. It is worth a visit to explore her unique ideas for art as a process.
Born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1970, Curtis received her BA in Studio Art from the University of Maine and her MA in Art and Psychology from Vermont College.
KC: How have you changed as an artist since you started your nine solo-biennials?
ASC: As I approach the end of this 18-year project, I don’t think I am going to be able to fully answer that question until I finish my memoir (2020?), which will be different from my autobiographical catalogue (9 SOLO BIENNIALS, to be published in 2018).
I had put my biennials’ themes in a sort of order of personal difficulty/challenge – EXPERIENCE, MOVEMENT, CHANGE, SOUND, LIGHT, TIME, SPACE, MATTER, MEMORY. I figured as I matured as an artist I would be increasingly able to take on these more cerebral themes toward the end of my opus. This worked out well, because, as my work got more and more ambitious, and I grew as an artist, I was more apt to acquire the resources I needed to pull off these more-involved exhibits.
KC: What would you like people to know about you as an artist that they may not already know?
ASC: People can read about things people didn’t yet know/don’t yet know about my work by reading, and better, subscribing to my blog www.theartistplan.com. I recently wrote about how being selected in high school to attend Haystack Mountain School of Crafts was like getting my Hogwarts letter; how my work and walk connect to my previous life as a competitive roller skater; how I hope to have an unplanned life after this very-structured-for-a-long-time one; etc.
KC: What are you most excited about with your last solo biennial MEMORY?
Each solo biennial, which presents nine unique, large-in-scope, interactive installation works, is stronger than the one before. So MEMORY will have my best work thus far, and I can’t wait for people to participate with it. That being said, I try to stay present as I am working, so I enjoy each moment, especially with this last one, as it is my last.
KC: Anything else you would like to share?
ASC: Yes. If any artists and their friends want to participate at my last biennial, they should write directly to me to be added to my notification list firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the only “sure way” to get the details (including the where) about the exhibit.