A self-confessed ‘Fusionist’, Amanda Watt pays homage to the past: the multiple perspectives of cubism; the bright energy of expressionism; and the simplicity of primitivism all combine in her unique and highly recognisable style. Her every-day world and that of fantasy collide to create bright and joyful images based on the clarity and simplicity of abstract forms.
Amanda Watt was born in Northern Ireland and graduated from the Belfast College of Art and Design in 1982. After three years in London, she was given an opportunity by one of her collectors to move to Los Angeles, where she spent the next twenty years building a successful career as an artist. With annual solo shows in LA, San Francisco and New York, Amanda’s bright, vibrant interior scenes and semi-abstract figurative and landscape paintings became a staple of Californian society. Watt’s key collectors include casino mogul Steve Wynn, award-winning film director Barry Levinson, Cultural Ambassador Vanessa Branson, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, and fashion-designer Marla Ginsburg.
Amanda plays with the fusion of East and West and of genres and styles from the early twentieth-century to the present day. She is inspired by Gauguin’s Orientalism and Japanese woodblock prints, which she combines with western cubist principles and the expressionists’ use of colour. She cites the pattern-making of Gustav Klimt and the highly stylised figures of Tom Wesselman and Alex Katz as influences, as well as Rainer Fetting’s use of bold colour and gestural brushstrokes. The bright Californian colours of David Hockney and the decisive curves of Matisse are clearly recognisable in her work.
Amanda particularly favours acrylic paint, which allows a fast pace of work with spontaneous gestures. Transparent washes precede bold primary colours to create depth and vibrancy. Multiple motifs, all from memory or imagination, are peppered throughout her work: highly stylised furniture; a picture within a picture; a torso – fragmented parts that on their own don’t necessarily make sense, carefully placed to create a balanced whole.