Margery Amdur combines painting and sculpture to create hybrid abstract works made of mass-produced and traditional fine art materials. Assembling hundreds of colorful cosmetic sponges into asymmetrical compositions and adhering them to canvas, Amdur fabricates a kind of porous skin, which she then sculpts into undulating wall-mounted and floor-based forms. Her site-specific wall drawing serves as a visual echo of the repeating shapes and patterns evident in her three-dimensional sponge formations. Amdur’s emphasis on mark making as an extended process rather than a single, definitive gesture appears in her ghost like erasures across the gallery wall.
Cutting the pre-packaged sponges into cubes, circles, and trapezoids, Amdur arranges the shapes to create compositions evocative of invented architectural models or cityscapes. In this sense, she appropriates the sponges as signifiers of beauty and represents them as kind of artifice or a human-made construction. She applies pigment directly to the make-up sponge itself, eschewing the paintbrush and treating the absorptive surface as a blank canvas. Her palette ranges from pastels and vibrant reds to neutral tones and whether saturated with or devoid of color, the surface reveals the additive and subtractive application of paint itself.
Margery Amdur’s cosmetic sponges transcend their traditionally intended use and merge with the canvas to form a conceptual subversion of industrial uniformity and conventional beauty rituals.
Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art and Acting Associate Director for Programs