South Florida Artist Cultivates New Expressions with ‘The Garden'
By Brianna Issenberg
Set to open September 23rd at Nova Southeastern University’s Gallery 217, ‘The Garden’ is an ambitious site-specific installation of soft sculptures handcrafted by Miami artist Amanda Madrigal. The exhibition will run from September 23 through November 13, 2020, and attendees will be able to safely experience Madrigal’s lush forms of nature and healing online through virtual platforms. `
Miami native Amanda Madrigal earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 2013, and has since exhibited her work across the world. Now, she brings her latest collection to Nova Southeastern University.
In The Garden, Madrigal encapsulates the experience of rebirth and connectivity that she has witnessed throughout 2020. During this time of quarantine and isolation that has become synonymous with the coronavirus pandemic, many people have taken up hobbies as creative outlets to stay positive and motivated. Whether gardening, baking, or sewing, many people have rediscovered their passions or have connected with everyday activities that they had previously dismissed. By combining mixed media and repurposed materials, Madrigal purposefully emphasizes this human tendency of self-renewal and brings to life themes of nature and imagination. The artist builds blended environments composed of clay miniatures, paint, fabrics, secondhand clothing and thrifted furniture; these spaces are then interlaced with a mix of plant-like structures and figurative references to communicate the symbiotic relationship between nature and human beings.
Embroidered Monarch butterflies and “eye” catching lotus flowers symbolize the enlightenment that humans often seek during times of challenge and change. The dominant use of pink throughout the exhibition is designed to evoke positivity and peace within the viewer, much like that induced by everyday hobbies. Reconstructed out of a well-worn sweater and Madrigal’s own jeans, the exhibition’s figurative centerpiece The Flight embodies the escapist relationship between natural and imagined worlds. With features such as elongated fabric arms and an oversized flower in lieu of a head, The Flight elicits conflicting responses of recognition and unfamiliarity. While the plush figure resembles a human, the lack of a head and stretched-out limbs point to fragmentation and distortion.
In The Garden, Amanda Madrigal offers a thought-provoking statement about nature’s transformative power. Interwoven with extruding gloved hands, painted ceramic eyes, and life-like plants made out of crocheted yarn and textured clay, Madrigal’s installations present a fresh connection between humans and the natural world surrounding us.
In celebration of this exhibition, Gallery 217 will be hosting many virtual events online. Broadcast via Zoom, the free virtual opening reception will take place on September 23 at 6PM and a free artist workshop be held on October 14 at 6PM. All Zoom links will be posted on Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Communication, Media, and the Arts event webpage at nova.edu/arts
Due to an abundance of caution regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallery 217 will be closed to the public throughout the duration of this exhibition. To schedule a virtual tour, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay up to date with new exhibition photos, mini art making demonstrations and a video walkthrough by connecting with us on social media at www.facebook.com/groups/2201266470/ and www.instagram.com/nsu_pva/