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Vanida Amiot’s Style Synthesizes Dual Cultures

Le Temps D'Une Danse, 18 x 22

Born in India, but adopted at the age of three by a French family, Vanida Amiot is very definitely a product of two distinctly different cultures, each of which has left its mark on her paintings. Claiming the formative influences of Realism, Surrealism, Fauvism, Cubism and Pop art, she now works in a style, incorporating elements of both Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting, best described as Lyrical Abstraction.
    There are also hints of Tachisme, the European equivalent of Abstract Expressionism, perhaps having to do with her French upbringing, in the tactile quality of Amiot’s full-bodied paint surfaces.
    It is as a sublime colorist, however, that Amiot truly distinguishes herself. Indeed, one might credit not only both parts of her duel heritage –– the plein air tradition of French Impressionism and the vibrant hues of Indian miniatures –– with the chromatic magic she creates in acrylic on canvas. A buoyant example of the former influence can be seen in her composition “Le Tempes D’Une Danse,” with its sun-splashed sky blue, yellow, and pink hues, while the more deeply burnished red clay and gold colors of the latter influence are most evident in “La Pertinence De Lucifer.”
    It is much to Vanida Amiot’s credit that she generally eschews the overblown scale of many young artists who have fallen under the spell of Abstract Expressionism all these years later. It is understandable, at least when the movement was still in its early stages,that gigantic canvases became de rigueur for awhile –– both as an attention getting device and an expression of the wide open spaces of the American landscape (although it was adopted by artists the world over).
    The device quickly became a clich�, however, and Amiot wisely avoids it. For keeping her canvases at easel scale, rather than overwhelming or pushing the viewer away, compels him or her to move closer to study the subtle interactions of the colors and textures in her compositions. For example, encountering Amiot’s “Terre D’Exil” (which is only twenty by twenty-four inches in its actual dimensions), is as all-encompassing an experience for its saturation of fiery and earthy autumnal hues, as being swept up in Jackson Pollock’s huge “Autumn Rhythms.” Indeed, while the Pollock is, like many of his paintings, rather thinly configured in enamel on canvas, the Amiot, richly built up in layers of acrylic pigments, reminds one why easel painting –– especially when its surface is as sensuous as this ––  has provided viewers with such intimate and enduring pleasure for so many centuries.
    Amiot is especially adept at expressing specific entities and elements of nature in completely abstract terms, as seen in “Secret D’Un Glacier,” where only the chunky strokes of a broad brush on a 15 by 18 inch canvas, along with areas of icy white and few shades of blue, are more than sufficient to evoke the subject. The same holds true for “Parfums D’Angkar,” where an entire chromatic garden of pinks, yellows, pale blue and deeper violet hues evoke an aromatic bouquet without delineating distinctly floral forms. 
    Indeed, where color is concerned, Vanida Amiot, like Monet or Redon, is an artist who can literally do no wrong. Unlike many others today, who appear to treat color as a mere drawing medium, she is a true painter in the very best sense of the term.
–– Marie R. Pagano


Vanida Amiot , Agora Gallery 530
 West 25th Street, Sept 10 – Oct 1, 2013
Reception: Thursday, Sept 12,  6 – 8pm

View press release and exhibition information

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