Santina Amato is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses the notion of the intimate body, especially the female body. Her practice incorporates video, sculpture, installation, painting and photography and is deeply rooted in psychoanalytic thinking and feminist theory, attempting to translate the complexities of her own female sexuality, desire and erotica within a patriarchal system. As a material focus, her interest in using bread dough within an interdisciplinary artistic dialogue, is its life cycle. Once activated by warm water and sugar, yeast cells split and divide in a process reminiscent of when an egg is fertilized by sperm. There is a peak moment when dough is voluptuous, full, and ripe just before it begins to 'die'.

Amato was born in Australia to Italian immigrants, and has lived and worked in the USA since 2010. She received an MFA (Photography) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) and a BFA (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne Australia (2009). Her first solo exhibition in the USA titled Monster, was supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA), Individual Artist Support Project Grant and exhibited at Heaven Gallery in Chicago, IL in 2018. She is a current Smack Mellon Hot Pick Artist for 2018/2019.

Exhibitions and screenings include Governors Island Art Fair, NY, Leroy Neiman Center, Chicago, IL, ExFest Film & Video Festival, Chicago, IL, Detroit International Videonale, Kuntshalle Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, MI, CURRENTS, Santa Fe International New Media Art Festival, NM, Brooklyn Public TV, NY, and The International Women’s Day Video Screening in Melbourne, Australia.

Amato has held positions as Fellow and Artist-in-Residence at Process Park, Artslant & Chashama, Pine Plains, NY, Filed/Work Program: Chicago Artist Coalition, IL, Artists' Cooperative Residency & Exhibitions (ACRE), Steuben, WI, Artspace Visual Arts Center, Sydney, Australia, New York Art Residency and Studios Foundation, NY and BRIC Media Arts House, NY.

In August 2018, she fulfills the position as Artist-In-Residence at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA supported by the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE), Individual Artists Program (IAP) Grant, and a fully funded position at Crosstown Arts Center in Memphis, TN in the Fall of 2018.

Amato is Founder and Director of Moving_Image_00:00, a biannual festival in Chicago of moving image works created by Chicago-based artists. Her work is part of a collective photographic portfolio at The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection and The Art Institute of Chicago and video collection at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, Australia.

ARTIST STATEMENT
I am interested in material processes and work in a wide range of mediums and formats from 9 x 5 inch paint works on paper to large-scale installations that respond to the architectural features within site-specific contexts. As a material focus, my particular interest in using bread dough within my installations, sculptures, video and photographic works, and in particular, live settings, is its life cycle; 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 voluptuous, full, and ripe, just before it begins to ‘die’.

By observing the similarities in the life process of dough and my own body – the way it moves, the way it feels, the way it is observed by others, the way it is perceived by the self, its temporal relationship to the world & to others – I attempt to translate the complexities associated with my own experience of being female, my relationship to my own body and those that I desire, female heterosexuality, desire, erotica, intimacy, and aging, through an interdisciplinary artistic dialogue of video, sculpture, ceramics, performance, installation, painting and photography.

This attraction to the materiality of dough relates back to my childhood growing up within an immigrant Italian household in Australia, where dough was no foreign matter and gender roles were clearly in place. 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, folding it over and onto itself, pushing her whole body towards it – back and forth, back and forth¬ – steering the dough with her hands as she transformed it from flour and water into our existence as a living organism, to be consumed by our bodies, via our mouths.

My work is formal in its presentation, biomorphic in form, addressing the basic notion of the intimate body, especially the female body. I am interested in the visceral relationship between the physical, the psychological, and the social of the functioning body – the mess, the goo, the merging, the mixing, the exchange, the mutual consumption. The work results in abstract reflections on the psychosexual nature of intimacy, as if captured in an ongoing stage of metamorphosis.

Education

School of Art Institute of Chicago

Master of Fine Art (Photography), 2017

Victorian College of the Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours)

Victorian College of the Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting)

Victoria University

Diploma in Visual Arts

Awards

2018/2019

Hot Pick Artist, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY [link]

2018

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

2018

Individual Artists Program (IAP) Grant, City of Chicago’s DCASE [link]

2018

Artist-in-Residence Process Park, Artslant & Chashama

2018

Artist-In-Residence, Crosstown Arts Center (Forthcoming) [link]

2018

Artist-In-Residence, MASS MoCA (Forthcoming) [link]

2017

Field/Works Artist-In-Residence, Chicago Artist Coalition [link]

2017

Artist-In-Residence, ACRE, Steuben, WI [link]

2016

Honorable Mention Award, ExFest 2016 Film/Video Festival, Chicago, U.S A [link]

2016

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

2015

LeRoy Neiman Scholarship, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

2015

Travel Grant, The Ian Potter Cultural Trust (Melbourne, Australia) [link]

2014

Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, American Australian Association, New York, NY [link]

2014

Media Artist Fellowship, BRIC Media Arts House, Brooklyn, NY [link]

2013

Immigrant Artist Program, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY [link]

2013

Artist-in-Residence, Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney, Australia [link]

2013

Summer Studio Artist-in-Residence, BLINDSIDE Artist Run Initiative, Melbourne, Australia [link]

2012

New Work Early Career, Australia Council for the Arts, Australia [link]

2012

ArtStart Initiative, Australia Council for the Arts, Australia [link]

2012

Artist-in-Residence, New York Artist Residency & Studio Foundation, Brooklyn, NY [link]

2012

Summer Artist-in-Residence, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia [link]

2010

Artist-in-Residence, Kala Art Institute, Berkley, CA [link]

2010

Cultural Fund Travel Grant, Copyright Agency Limited, Australia [link]

2008

Travel Grant, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Fund, Australia [link]