Creative Mission Statement:
As an interdisciplinary artist I investigate the complex cultural customs surrounding rites of passage and transformational moments. By reframing components of popular and often unquestioned rituals through the integration of performance, installation, textile, photography, videography, sound, graphic design, and audience engagement within the flexible parameters of structured created narratives, I urge the viewer to challenge the roles society and self play in constructing identity and to rethink established conventions that are blindly transmitted and reinforced through ritual behavior.
Through my in depth investigation of the wedding ritual, I raise questions about the expectations of perfection that are feverishly propagated by the wedding industry and eagerly consumed and self-imposed by American brides. I focus on the iconography of the wedding dress, which serves as a metaphor for the valorization of the quest for perfection in contemporary American wedding culture, and the resulting perfection hysteria that often ensues as brides straddle public and private life, struggling to find a balance between personal decisions and societal expectations.
Amy Pierce was born in Yonkers, New York, received a BFA from the University of Connecticut and then started her own business in New York City where she has worked as a commercial and editorial photographer for over 10 years. She has continued to shoot and publish work for clients that include: The Village Voice, NY Press, Japanese Playboy, AT&T, BBDO, Velvet Park, TRACE, and L’ETOILE magazine. She has had photographs exhibited in group shows throughout the New York area, including one at the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Sex in New York City. She seeks to transcend the frame by addressing subjects that make her personally vulnerable and emotionally charged. She is especially drawn to the societal traditions surrounding weddings, and the role expectations of both women and men. As a graduate student in the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Maine, Amy is excitedly engaging in new creative territory.
In my work, I strive to convey a concept and I choose the visual medium to best express that, usually achieved through photography, film, and costume-making. I seek to transcend the frame by addressing subjects that make me personally vulnerable and emotionally charged. I am especially drawn to the societal traditions surrounding weddings, and the role expectations of both women and men. Through elaborately constructed narratives, I explore subjects such as perceived physical and psychological weakness, emotional dependency, sexual objectification, and cultural obsessions with youth and naiveté.
For this ongoing portrait performance, The Whitney Biennial, (2002-present), I reconsider the idea of the traditional portrait, transgress notions of personal space and raise the question of what people are willing to do for “Art”. When I approach a person and ask if I can take their portrait, they are usually expecting me to take a photograph of their face. Then I reach out, and pull their clothing away from their skin, put my camera inside their shirt and take a portrait of their exposed chest. This project is about the experience, the interaction, and the exchange. I love the nuances of how people hold their bodies; the paparazzi flying hand blocking the shot in a last attempt at modesty, the opportunistic exhibitionist displaying their assets in full glory, the sucked in stomachs, the nervous shoulders, the anxious and curious expressions. This project is also about the images. I love their ambiguity, their anonymity and their intimacy. At this close range, much of the information is knocked out by the flash and small details such as body hair, moles, jewelry, skin texture, bits of undergarments- become identifying features. In their abstraction, it becomes hard to decipher which image is your own. We are so used to being photographed that we know how to pose, how to smile, how to hold our bodies so that we look more to the recorded world what we want to look like in our inner world. In the abstractness of these photographs the individual identity gets lost but because we all relate to the human form these photographs serve as an equalizing human element.