Michael St. Amand (May 12, 1958) born in Danbury, Connecticut, an American painter and digital artist, studied art at the Wooster Arts Center in Connecticut and at the Art Students League of New York. However, St. Amand's artistic development was largely the result of self-teaching.
In the mid 1970s, he met artist Gertrude Barrer, credited by art historians as having been a leading contributor to American Modern Art and considered one of America's most important avant-garde artists by Clement Greenberg in 1946. As a mentor, Barrer gave St. Amand advice and encouragement. During this time, St. Amand experimented with the use of raw, vibrant colors, fabric, photos and other found objects, geometric shapes and expressionistic movement. The results of his experimentation created a setting for real and abstract subjects to exist harmoniously within each piece of work.
In 1991, St. Amand moved to Southwest Florida settling in Fort Myers. Immediately, he was represented by the Naples Art Gallery, the most prestigious gallery at the time. The gallery agreed to show thirty paintings. Shortly after his arrival, the artist was heavily involved in the arts community, and became lifelong friends with Laurence Getford, Lawrence Voytek (who worked at the Rauschenberg Compound on Captiva Island) and Kat Epple, Emmy Award winning recording artist. During this time, he met Robert Rauschenberg. Many creative conversations ensued over the years. St. Amand experimented with using the computer as a new medium on which create. At the time, this artistic venue was new and challenging.
In the late 1990s, St. Amand ventured to Seattle where high-tech innovations were developing. His digital art and programming skills were in great demand. In 1996, he won a Corel award for 3D digital animation, when 3D animation was in its infancy. In 1997, he invented "Virtual Instruments" for Fluke Corporation; developed one of the first Microsoft Channels using push technologies on Microsoft's Network; and designed for the early MSN network. His digital work was included in the Whiney Biennial in the RT Mark installation, in 2000. St. Amand was a pioneer and visionary of some of the technologies now used every day.
The artist moved back to Southwest Florida in 1999 to concentrate on painting and continued to exhibit nationally and internationally. In 2008, Epple, Voytek, and St. Amand collaboratively produced a project called "Peace and Flambe'" which was a homage to the 1950s "Happenings" that John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg created. Rauschenberg attended the opening and was elated. He stated that it took him back to the times of his old performances. Rauschenberg died later that year.
St. Amand's "Slave to Vanity", a contemporary, interactive art installation occurred in 2010. The artist offered a stirring and evocative look at society's obsession with a flawless and youthful appearance. St. Amand created a custom vanity table, complete with leather handcuffs and mirrors, which originally inspired the entire event. Multiple functional pieces were made to engage the viewers in exposing what it means to be a vanity slave. Surrounding the interactive work were paintings and sculptures depicting aspects of perceived beauty and perfection.
In January, 2012, St. Amand's painting "Mundata Sonata 8" was published on the cover of the European contemporary art magazine "Visual ArtBeat" and included a cover story about his artwork. The same year St. Amand was invited by the Georgian Ministry of Culture to exhibit his digital art, mixed media paintings, and video installations in the "Punctum Contra Punctum International Exhibition" at The Georgian National Museum, Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts, National Gallery in Tbilisi, the capitol city of The Republic of Georgia. Michael St. Amand was the first American artist to exhibit paintings in this Georgia national museum since the country gained its independence from the Soviet Union.
Michael St. Amand's 2013 projects include Expose New Orleans where two of his works were displayed on a billboard sponsored by CBS over a four week period during Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl; exhibiting in INCOGNITO: Naples Museum of Art, Naples Florida; quadriART: EAGL gallery Berlin, Germany; and with the endorsement from the United States Embassy, the Georgian Ministry of Culture, and the Georgian National Museum is preparing for a major solo exhibition: Human Condition: "Myths and Mayhem", at The National Museum of Georgia, The Tbilisi History Museum, June 16th – June 30th, 2013 in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Michael St. Amand has earned numerous awards for his work. The artist has been listed in Art in America Magazine's Who's Who in American Art. He has exhibited his art nationally and internationally, including Paris, Bordeaux, New York City, The Republic of Georgia, Germany, Dallas, New Zealand, Washington, D.C., and throughout Florida. His work can be found in many corporate and private collections.
St. Amand uses a multi-disciplined approach to his art making – painting, printmaking, digital art, video, sculpture, installations, and mixed media constructs. The artist's work cannot be classified within a particular generation of art movements. St. Amand's style is an amalgamation of Avant-Garde, Abstract Expressionism, Modernism, and Color-Field Painting. The artist focuses on the basic elements of an artwork – color, shape, and composition but deliberately chooses materials to psychologically evoke certain kinds of feelings.
St. Amand's paintings affect the space in which they hang. His use of multi-layered raw, vibrant color and fluorescent pigments put the viewer on the spot. His paintings vibrate with energy and light causing the art to interact with the audience. The artwork reflects glaring bursts of color back at the viewer, necessitating a multi-angled tour of the canvas in order to form a complete image of it. Because of the way light reacts to the fluorescent pigments, as ones physical relationship to them changes so does the artwork.
There is nothing "quick" about St. Amand's work. His art needs time to be ingested, digested, and contemplated. Messages are coming from all sides -- political, social, cultural, sexual, and aesthetical. St. Amand juxtaposes the sacred with the profane and leaves the viewers to determine where on the continuum their perceptions lie. "All the objects are just objects. As with all art, it is what the viewer brings to it," St. Amand says of his work. "It is the viewer's own – very personal – reactionary emotion or self-analysis. Whether it is disdain or shock, passion or compassion, every person will create his or her own truth attached to the work." This is at the heart of St. Amand's work. As art, his pieces are unique and visually engaging. As social commentary, they are thought evoking and provoking. His work inspires conversation and insight into three worlds: the artist's, the one in which we all share, and the very personal one within each individual.