Amy Rice, “be attitudes”

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Quirk’s Main Gallery exhibit for the months of March and April features the mixed media work of Minneapolis artist, Amy Rice. “Beginning with not-so-traditional print making methods (hand cut stencils and a Japanese Gocco printmaking toy) [Rice] makes original, one-of-kind pieces by additionally employing acrylic, gouache, ink and collage. Her ‘canvases’ range from weathered wood panels and found objects to antique envelopes, age-worn love letters, and found journal pages yellowed with time. Rice draws inspiration for her work from childhood memories, both real and imagined (or just slightly exaggerated with time), the urban community in which she lives, vintage botanical prints, her dog Pumpkin, bicycles, street art, gardening, random found objects, collective endeavors that challenge hierarchy, acts of compassion, downright silliness and things with wings.”  Amy was kind enough to answer a few questions we had about herself, the beautiful work she’s made for this exhibit, and to tell us a little bit about what’s next for her.
Quirk: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Amy Rice: I grew up in rural Wisconsin; I came to Minneapolis for college (I have a BA in Sociology) and never really left. I have made art my entire life but I didn’t see it as a plausible career choice—it was an enjoyable hobby and I was satisfied with that. About 13 years ago I set about to make a complete body of work, document it and see if I could get a show in a local pizza joint. It worked and things took off from there. I’m still astonished at the opportunities I have had since that first exhibit.
Q: Your mixed media work incorporates so many different images, colors, textures, themes, etc.  How do your pieces develop?
A: My work develops organically, inspired by my day-to-day life activities, by the objects and material I come across and the mood I am in the day a piece gets created. I often try to take a more disciplined approach, pick out a palette in advance or attempt to tighten up a theme, sometimes that works out but mostly any advanced planning is abandoned for spontaneity.
Q: Is there something about the work exhibited at Quirk that you hope viewers will take away from the experience of viewing your pieces?
A: My favorite part about the body of work I made for the Quirk show is that every piece has some element of another’s handiwork or hand…antique embroidery and antique handwritten letters. I hope that the viewers’ imagination is sparked by this collaboration.
Q: What’s next for you and your future work?  Are you working on any other projects?
A: My sweetheart and I bought 23 acres in rural Minnesota late last fall. We have big plans but they are mostly long-term. For the time-being I have started a project where I am identifying and documenting in print art every single plant species on our property. It will most likely take me my entire life. There are 2 paintings in the Quirk show that incorporate the first 2 plants/prints—“Goldenrod” and “Milkweed and Honey”. Additionally, I am revamping a 1970’s ice-fishing tent into a Russian folk style shelter to serve as our base-camp this first summer. That made it into a small painting in the Quirk show as well, “A Possible Future Scenario”.  I also received a 2014 Minnesota State Art Board Grant for a new body of work based on the fundraising tradition of the cakewalk. So, there will be lots of cake and art about cake made—this year is going to be delicious!
Q: How do you find artistic inspiration?  How do you stay motivated?
A: I am fortunate in that I never run out of artistic inspiration. Never. I have far more art that I want to make than I could possibly make in a lifetime. People enjoying my work keeps me motivated, but even if the only people who liked my work were me and my Grandma, I would still be making it.
Q: When you aren’t working, what are your favorite things to do or places to go?
A: I love to garden. I share a large vegetable garden with my boyfriend and some of his family in the country and I have a flower garden at my house in the heart of the city of Minneapolis. I enjoy time with friends and family, I have an awesome mixed-breed dog named Pumpkin who is my heart on a leash. I am an avid bicyclist and I am learning to sew.
Amy Rice’s “be attitudes” will be on view in Quirk’s Main Gallery through April 26.  Her work can be seen along with Sarah Hand’s small works on plaster panels in the Shop Show and Aimee Joyaux’s drawings in oil pastel, acrylic paint and pencil on paper in The Vault.