Amy Cella


I paint using primarily square canvases and limited color palettes inspired by San Francisco, the urban environment, and memories of growing up in the Pacific Northwest.  My Grate Series explores the idea of the barrier or screen by placing intentional visual obstacles – a grid – over emotionally resonant abstract compositions.  By dividing up the picture plane, the grid slows down the viewing process and forces the viewer to reflect on the act of looking.  When viewed in groups, this engagement expands to include a dialogue between pieces, exploring how the interaction between parts in the whole of the single painting is mirrored in the interaction between single paintings and the group. The grid also forces recognition of the way that paintings shape their own experience, necessitating engagement with each painting as a unique physical object rather than simply the carrier for an image.  Counterintuitively, once the barrier is recognized and engaged it becomes a tool for greater rather than lesser understanding, and the viewer becomes a participant in their experience rather than merely a spectator to it.