“I am interested in the idea of artist as mad scientist.”
– Amy Ross
The artist is drawn to stories that have emerged and evolved over time to provide explanations for the phenomena, both real and imagined, of the natural world. The most influential theme has been that of “shape shifting,” wherein people are transformed, voluntarily or not, into animal form.
“I’m an animal, you’re an animal, too.”
- Neko Case
The members of the family Canidae, (or canids) are coyotes, dogs, foxes, jackals, and wolves. These mammals regularly appear in Ross’ work and have taken on a totemic role in her life. Most canids are social animals that live in packs andf depend on the larger group for individual survival. In speaking of the impact of her last series on this new series the artist sites her younger brother currently serving in Afghanistan and the similarities between wolf packs and military troops. With both, individual survival requires reliance on the group, and one must acquiesce to the hierarchy of social rank and dominance if one is to be part of the group. In turn, the group can accomplish more than can the sum of its parts. But what happens when an individual leaves the pack and its den? How does a “lone wolf” not only stay alive but thrive?
Ross’ new work has been made post-divorce, as the artist begin to reconfigure her life and identity without the backdrop and safety net of the proverbial pack. Amy explores the experience of being outside the group; the masks and identities that are experimented with along the way; and how the natural world can provide sustenance even when one is out there alone. What remains is raw instinct and a survivalist mentality: the inclination to hunt and take care of the young (her daughter). So the new series involves dichotomies in both the social and natural worlds: the individual versus the group; the fresh bounty from the farm versus bones found in the woods; death, relics and detritus versus rebirth, growth and potentiality.
She was born inn New Jersey in 1972 and lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated with a BA in Religious Studies from Connecticut College and went on to receive her Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. Her art has long been informed by this academic background in religious studies, and an abiding interest in folklore and mythology. She can often be found at the Harvard Museum of Natural History where she spends far too much time drawing and studying the taxidermied animals.
Ross has been in numerous one-and two person shows since 2001. Recent exhibitions include shows at Jen Beckman Gallery in New York City and at the Allston Skirt and Steven Zevitas Galleries in Boston. Her work is included in many collections, including those of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA and Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA.
Amy’s website: http://amyross.com
Amy blogs at: http://naturemorph.typepad.com/