Santina Amato

Artist Statement



My work takes inspiration from and uses materials found within the domestic environment, such as flour, yeast, toilet paper, bedsheets, and discarded household furniture. These materials become signifiers in my work for a personal and intimate space, where I explore the experience of the intimate body, especially the female body. My practice sits within a multidisciplinary context from large scale sculpture to durational live performance while considering and incorporating domestic labour. I delve into my experience of desire and erotica, and translate it into a broader consideration of the physical, psychological, and social functions of the female body. The work results in an exploration of the labour involved in navigating those three states.


My muse is bread dough and relates back to my immigrant childhood, where dough was no foreign matter. My first memory and experience of femininity and the power of creation (and potentially female desire) was watching my mother knead this soft, white, voluptuous material on our kitchen table. Folding the dough over onto itself and pushing her whole body towards it, she transformed the ingredients of flour and water into a living organism, created for both our oral pleasure and life sustenance.


As a material focus, I am interested in the life cycle of bread dough and its ephemeral qualities. Once activated by warm water and sugar, the cells of yeast split and divide, similarly to when an egg is fertilized by sperm. There is a peak moment when dough is full and voluminous, just before it begins to ‘die’.


While there are many similarities between the life cycle of dough and my body that emerge throughout my work, the domestic and physical labour processes evident when working with this material, is also of great consideration. Labour exists in navigating any female experience, whether carving out ones own identity beyond cultural traditions and expectations or breaking down gender stereotypes within both personal and professional relationships. In contemporary culture where the personal has become political out of necessity in achieving bodily autonomy, especially for women, labour presents itself in many forms.

Biography


Santina Amato was born in Australia to Italian immigrants, and has lived and worked in the USA since 2010. She works in a wide range of mediums and formats from sculpture to live performances and explores the experience of the intimate body. In her work, desire and erotica are translated into a broader consideration of the physical, psychological, and social functions of the female body, through materials such as bread dough and used bedsheets. She also considers and incorporates domestic labour when handling these materials that become signifiers for a personal and intimate space.


Amato is current AIM Fellow at the Bronx Museum of Art in New York and received an MFA (Photography) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). Her work has been supported by The Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Australian Council for the Arts among others. Exhibitions and screenings include Samek Art Museum, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Here Arts Center, NYC, Governors Island Art Fair, NYC and Detroit International Videonale, Kuntshalle Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, MI.


Amato has held positions as Fellow and Artist-in-Residence at MOCA Tucson supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA), MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA supported by the City of Chicago's DCASE, 2018 IAP Grant, Crosstown Arts, Memphis, TN, Process Park, Artslant & Chashama, Pine Plains, NY, Filed/Work Program, Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, IL.  Her work has been included in publications such as Emergency Index, CreateMagazine, and Lenscratch.


In 2016, Amato Founded and Directed Moving_Image_00:00, a biannual festival in Chicago of moving image works by Chicago-based artists that ran until 2019. Her work is part of a collective photographic portfolio at The Joan Flasch Artist' Book Collection and The Art Institute of Chicago, and video collection at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia and the Samek Art Museum, Lewsiburg, PA.


Amato is currently Artist In Residence at 4Heads Portal on Governors Island through to the end of August, 2022.


Awards


2022

AIM Fellow, Bronx Museum of Art, NYC, USA 2021

Grant, The Mayer Foundation, NYC, USA

Commission, New York Botanical Gardens, NYC, USA

2021

Artist-in-Residence, 4 Heads Portal, Governors Island, NYC, USA

2020 

Artist-in-Residence, Bethany Arts Community, Ossining, NY, USA

2019 

Grant, Professional Development, Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)

Grant, Individual Artists Program (IAP), City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE)

Artist-in-Residence, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ, USA

2018

2018/2019 Hot Pick Artist, Smack Melon, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Artist-in-Residence, Process Park, Artslant & Chashama, Pine Plains, NY, USA

Artist-in-Residence, Crosstown Arts Center, Memphis, TN, USA

Artist-in-Residence, MASS MOCA, North Adams, MA, USA

Grant, Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) Individual Artist Support Project Grant

Grant, Individual Artists Program (IAP), City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE)

2017 

Artist-in-Residence, Field/Work (2017/2018), Chicago Artist Coalition (CAC), Chicago, USA

Artist-in-Residence, ACRE (Artists' Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Steuben, WI, USA

Writing Fellow, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

2016 

Honorable Mention Award, ExFest 2016 Film/Video Festival, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Angela & George Paterakis Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Writing Fellow, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

2015 

Leroy Neiman Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Travel Grant, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fund, Melbourne, Australia

Artist-in-Residence, Summer Artist Institute, LMCC/ Creative Capital, New York, USA