Works
Overview

Amara’s work is deliberately minimal, transcendental; she is consciously framing the human element in its context of the natural world, suggesting that divinity resides in everything and has truly limitless supernatural potential.

Painter, sculptor, and photographer, artist London Amara lives, breathes, and creates in the exploration of light. She records her artistic vision with a rare and early method of photography known as collodion to delve far beneath the surface of our everyday experiences; her images are poetic, atmospheric, and dreamlike. Her lyricism is innately linked to the structural beauty of nature and its fragile, intimate relationship with humanity. Remarkably, she uses the medium to record invisible light, allowing us to see what our eyes cannot. Amara has cultivated a profound focus and ability to be present during the moment of creation, allowing her to render visible subtle emotion and energy. This is evident in Amara’s landscapes, where forest trees and undergrowth exist both as solitary focal points as well as combine to establish strong compositions notable for their intrinsic cohesiveness. In her portrait work, the nuanced characteristics of the colloidan process emphasize the alchemistic space held between artist and sitter, something Amara intuitively experiences and skillfully records.

 

Amara often repeats a silent mantra while creating: photograph the light, not the thing. The chromatic restriction of collodion photography provides a challenge to the photographer, and Amara revels in using this technique to bring to life very simple, minimalist images. Light allows forms and shapes to carry visual importance by virtue of their differences— something the collodion process, with its emphasis on tonal distinctions, establishes naturally. The insight Amara derived from the last twenty years spent as an abstract painter and sculptor is evident in her intuitive, aesthetic sense of light/dark composition.Using multiple materials and processes, she explored the interplay of control and chaos through works that were low chroma, high texture and often strong contrast. It is with deep respect for light that she liberates life from the surface of things.

 

Amara emphasizes edges in her work, using symbolic language and alluding to physical, metaphoric, and energetic boundaries found in the demarcation of sacred space. In the natural environments in which she works and lives, it is the liminal spaces where diversity flourishes, new life forms evolve, and disparate elements meet. She shows us that edges are things of beauty in their own right, presented as a subject worthy of reflection and meditation.

 

The concept of failure is enthusiastically engaged in Amara’s work as an antidote to the sterile and calculated omission of natural artifacts in modern photography and our current cultural aesthetic. To create the organic periphery found in many of her photographs, she combines imperfect lenses, encourages partial or full disintegration of the collodion surface, invites dust and dirt to stick to the plates and irregularly splashes developer to encourage distortion, textural variations and image failure. It is in this state of random chance or aleatoric ebb and flow of control and chaos in which she places her faith. Amara carries a commitment to process: the series of co-incidents will either produce the desired effect or something totally unexpected. The resulting image simply glows, turning a familiar scene, person, or object into a work of art suffused with ethereal light, reminding us of the fertile rewards of failure.

 

Working on site in an ice fishing tent turned portable darkroom, Amara produces images of forests and landscapes that span Florida to British Columbia, as well as spare, intimate portraits of family and friends. In the context of and in conjunction with the landscape work, her subtle and emotive portraits imply an elusive narrative that captures the viewer’s imagination. By deliberately including technical flaws, she embraces the historical and handcrafted nature of the work. The result of her ongoing investigation of the colloidan process has resulted in an ever-growing confidence and profound intuitive wisdom. Her vision communicates an unspoken depth of feeling, dignity and a gravitas we don’t normally associate with contemporary art.

 

Experiences from her own life, such as a car crash in 2009, strengthened her interest in the complexities of the human condition and intensified her contemplation of the human body as the locus of experiences and relationships, not just as a biological entity. In both the landscape and human portraits, Amara’s work is deliberately minimal, transcendental; she is consciously framing the human element in its context of the natural world, suggesting that divinity resides in everything and has truly limitless supernatural potential. Her portraits convey a visual restraint, an emptiness of the moment. Our current American culture defines emptiness as a void, a barren space; Amara sees it as opportunity to explore a spiritual aesthetic and unspoken language. She ignores the perception that photography should be representational, using it instead to imbue patterns of light and dark that refer to our intrinsic natures as a spiritual force.

 

Amara’s unflinching eye has produced photographs so mysteriously evocative that her images are often disquieting, even haunting. She attributes this to her aesthetic sense of visual distillation and desire to nourish ancient wisdom often recognized as universal truth. Her opposition to the brilliant light of certainty produces images that are reflective, highlighting the power of stillness and calm. London Amara rebels against perfection, embraces the grace inherent in failure, and her success in making this alchemical energy palpable to the viewer is a vivid indicator of her creative accomplishment.

Biography

London Amara was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1977, and lives and works there and in Bonita Springs, Florida. The daughter of a second-generation builder and a formal art educator, Amara grew up in a rural setting before winning a scholarship to study painting, sculpture, and photography at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio in 1995. In 1999, she relocated to Naples, Florida where, in addition to making and exhibiting her work, she began teaching courses in the creative use of polymer resins, metals, and oxidation processes, and on the psychology of art making. She was also a visiting lecturer at the University of South Florida. Following a car accident in 2009, Amara started moving away from the biomorphic and gestural abstraction, and occasional use of handwritten text, that characterize her earlier work, moving towards drawings, paintings, metal sculptures, and "body prints" that focus more explicitly on the human form and its physical and metaphorical occupation of space. Currently, she is pursuing large-format collodion wet plate photography, producing intimate black-and-white portraits and haunting images of the wooded landscapes of Ohio, Florida, California, and British Columbia. Amara's paintings, sculptures, and photographs have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Columbus Conservatory in 1998, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Fort Myers, Florida (2009, 2013 and 2018), and Tampa Museum of Art (2016). She has also undertaken a number of private and public commissions for clients including the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, producing an installation that is now on permanent display at the Tampa Bay Forum box office-and was the recipient of the 2013 Vincent LeCavalier Commemorative Commission. Amara's work is represented in the permanent collections of institutions and businesses including Allstate Insurance, Diamond District, Fine Mark Bank, Florida Gulf Coast University and has been discussed in Art SWFL, Arts Tampa Bay, duPont REGISTRY, Florida Weekly, Grandeur, Gulf Coast Times, Fort Myers Magazine, Fort Myers News-Press, and Spotlight. It is also the subject of a 2012 film from Brandon Hyde's Rising Sky Studios (now Digital Caviar). Amara is currently at work on a book scheduled for publication in 2021.

Exhibitions
Virtual exhibition

London Amara: Ethos- The Alchemy of Spirit and Light

 

London Amara has created intimate black-and-white portraits and haunting images of the woodedlandscapes of Florida, Ohio, California, and British Columbia. Employing the use of a singular technical strategy, she works on site in a portable darkroom made from an ice-fishing tent to produce large-format, collodian photographic images. Amara's immersion in the visually marked cycles of biological life is juxtaposed and combined with intimate portraiture that depicts family and friends as bound up with the places they come from and inhabit. Her interest in the myriad formal and symbolic complexities of the body, not only as a biological entity, but also as the site of breaks in routines and relationships-is evident in her work and is now fully aligned with what she terms her "first language," the wordless speech of the organic world.