Close UP: Amanda Rowan by Patricia Lanza - The Eye of Photography Magazine

Close UP: Amanda Rowan by Patricia Lanza – The Eye of Photography Magazine

Amanda Rowanan American photographer based in Los Angeles, inaugurated a multimedia exhibition entitled Place Settingto the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, New Mexico, from May 20 to June 30, 2022, during this first exhibition, the Acequia house has reopened the doors of a historic house-museum that has become a contemporary art space that engages with its history in association with the Women’s International Study Center (WISC).

In a year when much of the world was confined to their homes or subject to travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus, Amanda Rowan also occupied a home environment – but not her own.

Created during Rowan’s fellowship at the Women’s International Study Center at Acequia Madre House, her visually arresting new exhibition, “Place Setting,” is a multimedia performance of photography, film, and sculpture.

The result of the project is a collection of works – including elaborate dinners created from archival cookbooks – that explore the surreal narrative of domestic labor as well as themes of ownership and independence linked to trappings. of class and gender.

Video for Place Setting: Vimeo:

To celebrate his collaboration with Acequia Madre, Rowan has released a line of placemats and tablecloths featuring his work created with the permanent collection: Like:

LANZA: Tell us about Acequia Madre, its history and how that determined the development of Place Settings?
Rowan: The house was established by Eva Fényes, during the golden age a space to foster creativity. After her divorce, she left New York in the late 1800s and bought the land in Santa Fe. New Mexico at that time was territory and quite the Wild West. His daughter and granddaughter continued this legacy. I had the honor of being able to engage with the unique personal objects they have collected over the decades as part of artistic patronage. It brought me into contact with the beauty of domestic arts.

LANZA: How did three generations of women who inhabited the Acequia Madre house have an effect throughout the making of the art?
Rowan: I was inspired by Eva’s tenacity to abandon the structured high society, and her privileged life in New York to seek a life of freedom and adventure in the American West. But what really draws me to her story is how she nurtured artists throughout her life. She created a place where independent thinkers, artists from all media and especially indigenous artisans could converse together. I have been drawn to generations of personal items. Items such as hat racks, fine silverware, forks and spoons corresponding to dishes and dishes, have for the most part lost their usefulness. But they carry such a rich history of the lives of these women and many women through time. I was thinking about the tradition of collecting and wanted this project to breathe new life into these inanimate objects.

LANZA: What is the scholarship program offered by the Acequia Madre House?
ROWAN: “The Women’s International Study Center offers scholarships to women working in the arts, sciences, cultural preservation and business. Month-long residencies with stipends allow fellows to focus deeply on their projects and engage with the Santa Fe community. Because WISC was inspired by the women of Acequia Madre House and operating on the property, it seemed more natural to invite WISC scholars to engage more deeply and creatively with the Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo collection. —Jordan Yong, Director of WISC

LANZA: What was your process, timeline and methodology in producing the film, photography and sculpture?
Rowan: I approached this project as a film set. My biggest challenge and lesson with big productions like this is that I can’t do everything. Learning and accepting this has allowed me to work with incredible collaborators, from florists to bakers and photo assistants, who help bring these great productions to life. I created the lighting and sets, then went into the frame to be the subject. These images wouldn’t have been possible without @renegadefloral @bakeitupbuttercup @horoscopecakes @floresdebosquez @tannewillow @pamelagarciaphoto @kormi_lamarr @kunja.p @pilarlawphotography @gabriellamarksphoto

LANZA: How did the sense of place – the American Southwest have an effect on Place Settings?
Rowan: In addition to the objects inside the house, a great inspiration for this work came from the religious idolatry of the Virgin Mary seen throughout New Mexico. I was interested and looked into how his mythology matches the expectations of women. Specifically, the dichotomy of virtue as a commodity that can be sold through marriage while promoting fertility through sexuality. I hope this work takes the viewer through a narrative to question gender and consider notions of domestic work as a spiritual offering and an act of feminist rebellion and celebration.

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