Art Live: Dream big

I met Amie Potsic at an exhibition in Philadelphia last year. Amie Potsic is one of those people who can wear a multitude of hats and still keep their lives on track. Folks may know her from her days as Executive Director of Main Line Art Center. This is just one role which has given her a platform to cultivate artists and art programs in the Delaware Valley.

Below are the notes from an interview with Amie Potsic in her Berwyn studio.

The Journey: My journey has taken me around the world as it’s opened my eyes to different aspects of the cultural landscape.  Starting out by backpacking and photographing on my own for a year in India, Israel, and Turkey, it has been full of daring and dramatic paths of action.  As such, I’ve engaged in many roles including artist, photographer, curator, gallery director, professor, executive director, and CEO.  As someone who has been on multiple vantage points of the art world, I have a broad view that helps me put things in perspective and keep me moving forward in my artwork and my business.

The Inspiration: My work explores climate change and gender equality through immersive installations and photographic works.  My current show explores these ideas through a lens of Magical Realism, introducing narrative and personal experience to issues that can sometimes seem too large to address.  After photographing my daughter in the lush forests of the Northeast, I traveled west to Paradise, California and its surrounding forests to photograph the complete devastation caused by the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.  Personal experience underscoring the urgency of climate change; my new work intertwines visions of girlhood in a magical environment with nature’s unprecedented destruction caused by wildfires.

The Mediums: My first love is photography.  I absolutely love the act of taking pictures as it forces you to live in the moment and see with heightened sensitivity.  It has taken me across the globe to photograph in amazing places. And, it has allowed me to experience this advanced level of observation with my camera in the everyday. After the photographs are taken, conceptual connections are made and narrative tales are spun during the editing process.  Bringing it all together to communicate in a dialogue is very satisfying. However, the two dimensionality of photography began to leave me wanting. I always wanted to literally walk into the photographs - to make a three-dimensional space that conveyed what I was photographing.  This led to creating silk-fabric installations with photographic imagery to make immersive forest environments.  It was very freeing to invite the photography off the wall and into space to create an experience.

The Process: I generally create bodies of work that address a particular issue that has grabbed me and held on for dear life.  It begins with images and ideas that I direct but then the work itself provides answers if I listen. So, I gather photographs and ideas for whatever time it takes before creating the actual artwork.  There are numerous steps between the initial image making and the final artwork. I allow my work to grow and evolve and take the form of the medium and aesthetic that best suits the message.

Paying the Bills: After receiving my MFA, I was an adjunct professor but it led to very few long-term opportunities and I started looking beyond academia to galleries and museums.  My left-brain organizational skills combined with a seriously driven personality allowed me to move into administrative and curatorial positions.  I became an Executive Director and Chief Curator.  I then realized I could create a business that utilized my skills and experience to their fullest while enhancing my role as an artist. My prior experience combined with my understanding of the market from a variety of perspectives, put me in a unique position. I launched Amie Potsic Art Advisory, LLC in January of 2018.

Community Engagement: By offering fine art appraisals, art advising for artists and collectors, legacy planning, and curatorial projects, I can support the arts and I can make things happen.  Having support to bring work and ideas to fruition is invaluable and is what I try to provide to my clients so they can reach their potential and enjoy acknowledgement of their work and collections. I am also Chair of the Art in City Hall Artistic Advisory Board to the City of Philadelphia.  I’ve been involved with the committee for many years. By my contributions to its exhibitions and programs, I enjoy staying connected to the city’s concerns, creativity, and artistic community.

Advice for Emerging Artists: At first, it’s important to take time to experiment and develop the work to its potential. Many artists are making work so it’s important that your work is uniquely yours. It is essential that it be well done.  Strong work gives you something substantial to exhibit, promote, and be proud of.  Be a professional in any work you do with colleagues, clients, and decision-makers.  Be someone people want to work with.  Developing relationships creates opportunity and long-term professional gains.  Being an artist is a long game, so enjoy the journey.

The Mantra: Dream big, try your hardest, and will it to be so.

You can see Potsic’s new work beginning Sept. 14th at James Oliver Gallery/Hot Bed where her solo exhibition "Girl in the Garden: Danger in Paradise" will be on view through Nov 15th, 2019. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14th from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. For more information, visit http://amiepotsic.com/ and www.amiepotsicartadvisory.com

Montgomery County Community College is hosting two dynamic group exhibitions right now. At the Pottstown Campus, Kutztown University’s Art Faculty Show of mixed media is on view through Nov. 7th at its North Hall Gallery. Kutztown’s faculty teach numerous forms of art ranging from ceramics, drawing, painting, illustration and woodworking to new and time-based media. Given that, expect to see a wide variety of mediums on display. A reception will be held Wednesday, Sept. 18th from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.

"Ghosted" by K H McLaughlin

At the Blue Bell Campus, works by the mother’s cooperative group, MamaCITA are on view through Oct. 3rd at its Fine Arts Center Gallery. The exhibition, Marginalized features painting, printmaking, ceramics, jewelry, collage and installation. Karen Hunter McLaughlin, a long term member and leader said, “Our mother-artists initiated this exhibit idea almost two years ago in response to the changing political atmosphere. We were really excited to bring a wide range of issues to the public via the educational experience. We think it’s important to engage the community and the student body, in concerns of people and ideas that are often pushed to the fringes of society.” The reception is on Wednesday, Sept. 11th from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. For more information about these exhibitions, contact Patrick Rodgers at prodgers@mc3.edu.

Closer to home, Nostalgia Illustrated: N. C. Wyeth Advertising, Cultural History, a discussion with Professor Douglas B. Dowd, is on Thursday, Sept. 12th at Brandywine River Museum of Art. The program begins at 6:00 P.M. For more details, visit https://www.brandywine.org/museum/events/nostalgia-illustrated-n-c-wyeth-advertising-and-american-cultural-history. The N.C. Wyeth exhibit is open through this Sunday, September 15.

"When in Doubt, Add Yellow" is a group show positively glowing with light, opens Thursday Sept. 12th at Chester County Art Association in West Chester.

"Spaces & Faces"  at Square Pear in Kennett Square features, among others, the ceramic artist Zhanna Martin who coaxes amazing expressions into form for her fictional characters of clay.

"Faces and Spaces" exhibit of the work of Zhanna-Martin

 

Whatever you do this week, support the arts!

 

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About Constance McBride

A native of Philadelphia, Constance McBride lived in Arizona for 16 years, where desert observations made a transformative impact on her work as a research based visual artist. Passionate about contemporary art, she was actively engaged in the local arts community. She served as a board member for several art organizations, managed an artist collective/gallery space, curated and juried several exhibitions and wrote for two arts publications in Phoenix. She taught ceramics at Shemer Art Center and Museum and exhibited her work both locally and nationally. McBride returned to Pennsylvania in 2018 and resides in Chester Springs with her husband and two dogs. In West Chester, she serves as a board member at The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank and teaches ceramics at Chester County Art Association. She also teaches at Clay on Main in Oley, PA. She is a member of American Craft Council, Philadelphia Sculptors, and Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter.

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