Much like a sculptor whose work may start life as a solid block of marble, Amélie’s paintings are first conceived as a solid wash of pigment or ink. It is only through the removal of colour that the painting starts to be revealed. Entitled ‘Depth Through Subtraction’ it is this technique, combined with a process of masking, reapplication and further removal, that the works come to life. The culmination is a body of work that demands further analysis from the viewer in order to decipher the foreground from the background. The continual subtraction of overlapping shapes which creates the different forms, tones and intensity of shades within the pieces. The works are abstract yet contain a bold geometric structure and the linen is not stretched before working into it. Some linen pieces have been cut and stitched back together to look like relics from the past and in some instances, threads have been left deliberately exposed on the edges of the canvases, as if fragments of historic cloth or textile.
In this collection of work called ‘Relics’, Amélie has focused on oak gall ink. Representing it as an artistic medium rather than its traditional use as calligraphers’ ink. The use of oak gall ink can be traced back to the 4th Century and was used by scribes to create illuminated manuscripts and legal documents. Oak galls are created when a gall wasp lays an egg on an oak tree branch, leaf or twig, simultaneously injecting a hormone into the plant tissue, causing it to grow a cocoon like shield around the developing wasp larvae. Once the wasp has hatched, the galls can be picked and transformed into ink by crushing them and mixing the powder with water and iron sulphate.
Amélie has researched natural pigments and inks for a number of years and has been making her own oak gall ink since the beginning of 2022. She was determined to create a unique pigment, with intensity and depth, but only using the purest of materials and as little resources as possible.