I use my own history of trauma, abuse, and disability to create objects that are at once culturally recognizable and highly personal; it is my hope that each viewer will recognize the overarching themes and identify them within their own experiences, thus encountering a moment of reflection, empathy, or even catharsis. My work is meant to be uncomfortable, to evoke a sense of anxiety or disquiet. Trauma is a disruption, so my work is created to be eerily beautiful, delicate and fine porcelain and glass formed into shapes with unsettling evocations. Society may prefer we not address this, but only by confronting and addressing them can we move forward.
"Lost in Translation" addresses the issues that trauma can create in communication; whether that be a physical trauma that damages ability to speak, think, or understand language, or mental and emotional trauma that significantly effects abilities to process, connect, and manage interpersonal relationships. My work is my voice, and a way to help others connect, to feel heard, and to even help them begin to communicate.
In “Lost in Translation” neon lights– culturally tied to the OPEN and NO / VACANCY signs at bars and roadside motels– display text in multiple languages, surrounded by abstracted porcelain objects. t's doubtful any audience member speaks every language. The objects– thistles, pointe shoes, prairie sunflowers, lilies, skulls, and face masks, have been dipped in liquid clay and fired out, leaving only ashes inside their ceramic shells behind as evidence. In this work, I want the audience to feel the frustration that myself and others feel as we try to relate through the tangles and thorns of disability and PTSD– something that has been made infinitely harder during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amanda Barr most recently finished her MFA in Studio Arts and MA in Art History at the University of Montana. She currently has a studio practice in Missoula as well as freelancing as a writer and designer, and is the Director of the University Center Gallery at the University of Montana.