Michael St. Amand
Michael St. Amand (May 12, 1958) born in Danbury, Connecticut, an American painter and digital artist, studied at the Wooster Arts Center in Connecticut where he guided by Alexander Shundi and Richard Klein, and at The Art Students League in New York. However, St. Amand’s artistic development is largely the result of self-teaching.
In the late 1970s, he met artists Frank Russell and Gertrude Barrer, the later credited by art historians over the past 30 years as having been a leading contributor to American Modern Art. As a mentor and collaborator, 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. Shortly after his arrival, the artist was heavily involved in the arts community. St. Amand also used the computer as a medium on which create and design digital art.
In the late 1990s, St. Amand ventured to Seattle where high-tech innovations were developing. His digital art and programming and artistic 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. His digital work was included in the Whitney Biennial in the RT Mark installation, in 2000.
The artist moved back to Southwest Florida in 1999 to concentrate on painting and continued to exhibit nationally and internationally. In January, 2008, Kat Epple, Lawrence Voytek, and Michael St. Amand collaboratively produced a project called"Peace and Flambe'" which was a homage to the 1950s “Happenings” John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg created. Bob attended the opening and was elated. He stated 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. Additional 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 work. 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, in Tbilisi, the capitol city of Georgia.
Michael St. Amand’s 2013 projects included two major solo exhibitions endorsed by the Georgian National Museum and the Georgian Ministry of Culture: Michael St. Amand “Human Condition: Myths and Mayhem” exhibited at The Tbilisi History Museum and The Signagi Museum in Georgia. Michael was the first American to have an solo exhibition at the Signagi Museum. The last non-Georgian to have a solo exhibition at the Signagi Museum was Picasso in 2009.
The book, Michael St. Amand "Human Condition: Myths and Mayhem" was also published, with forward by Richard L. Tooke (Former Director of Rights and Reproductions at MoMA); essays by Ketevan S. Kintsurashvili Ph.D. (Art Historian, Critic and Writer) and Robert P. Metzger Ph.D. (Director Emeritus of the Aldrich Museum and the Redding Museum).
The artist also exhibited in “Punctum Contra Punctum II International Exhibition" at the Georgian National Museum's, National Gallery, Tbilisi Georgia. He was sponsored by the US Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia, and "Punctum Contra Punctum II: American Edition" at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in Ft. Myers, Florida. He received an U.S. Department of State Federal Assistance Award/Foreign Assistance Act/FREEDOM Support Act issued by the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Tbilisi, Georgia Participation in a contemporary art exhibit in Tbilisi, Georgia and conducted related speaking engagements.
Two of St. Amand's works were displayed on a billboard sponsored by CBS over a four week period during Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl by Expose New Orleans. Other exhibitions included INCOGNITO: Naples Museum of Art, Naples Florida; and quadriArt: EAGL gallery Berlin, Germany. His paintings are also included in Studio Visit's Volume 25, 2014.
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.