Amy Cutler

This Karen and Doug Riley Contemporary Artists Project (CAP) Gallery exhibition is supported by
Douglas County and Sara Foxley.

May 10, 2020, is the closing date of this exhibition in the galleries. We have adjusted the listed end date online to keep all of the details live on the web for you to enjoy from home.

In Amy Cutler’s (American, b. 1974) images, uncanny and often impossible scenarios unfold in stunning detail.
A skilled draughtsperson, Cutler seeks stylistic inspiration from a wide array of art historical sources, including Persian and Indian miniature painting, Medieval religious imagery, and Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts. Drawing on transformative personal life experiences—such as buying a house and giving birth to her first child—the artist processes the collision of the inner psyche and the outside world. Despite being at the center of these narratives, Cutler does not often feature her likeness in her work, opting instead for a more conceptual form of self-portraiture that connects her own story to those of other women. An important component of this approach is her ongoing use of animals as surrogates for intense emotions and states of mind: birds suggest fleeting thoughts; pigs are intelligent and stubborn, yet also vulnerable; and horses represent strength, transition, and mobility.

Cutler’s compositions oscillate between the whimsical and the grotesque. Burdened by history, societal expectations, fruitless labor, and their own bodies, the women Cutler depicts confront extreme—and at times bizarre—physical and psychological effects. Some figures carry their own decapitated heads, while others cope with impossibly elongated limbs, hair, and facial features. In several nearly life-size graphite drawings, Cutler splits open her subjects’ skulls to expose their inner thoughts in the most literal sense. While these situations may seem desperate, Cutler is optimistic about the role of women in society, positioning her work as an exploration of “a fictional utopia of women who are strong and self-reliant.”

What's pictured: Amy Cutler (American, b. 1974), Tower, 2018 (detail), gouache on paper, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 inches, © Amy Cutler. Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects

The Karen and Doug Riley Contemporary Artists Project Gallery

A 500-square-foot space in the Scott Pavilion suite of galleries, the Riley CAP Gallery showcases nationally- and internationally-recognized artists, as well as emerging talent, selected by Joslyn curators. A rotating schedule of intimate, carefully focused exhibitions will examine how artists engage with the world and respond to the issues that challenge them creatively, bringing new perspectives on contemporary art to Nebraska.

Riley CAP Gallery artists will be invited to Joslyn for lectures and other public programs, giving audiences the opportunity to gain insight into creative processes and contribute to an expanded dialogue about new art. The first Joslyn gallery dedicated exclusively to living artists, the Riley CAP Gallery represents an important step in making contemporary art an even more integral component of the Museum’s exhibition programming.