A Personal Narrative
My love of art started early. So much so, that mom enrolled me in art classes at the Philadelphia Museum of Art when I was 7 years old. A
And for some reason, they put me directly in with the adult classes. Every week after class, I poured through the entire contents of the museum. Their collection consisted of 250,000 works of art, and by the time I was 10 years old, I could identify any artist in any museum I visited. I continued art classes at the museum until I went to college in 1973.
I graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University, specializing in ceramic sculpture in 1977. PSU had a world renowned ceramics program, and the wonderful facilities enabled me to explore.
In 1977 I attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago for a Masters of Fine Arts degree, and my focus drifted over to painting. Fascinated with the art scene in Chicago that exploded the decade before I got there, as the “Chicago Imagists” had become recognized world-wide, their new imagistic genre had a great personal impact on me. I began selecting advisors within the painting department, who were known in that movement, and was fortunate to have studied with Karl Wirsum, Phil Hanson, Christina Ramberg and Barbara Rossi. Heavily influenced by them, especially Ramberg and Rossi, I adapted in my own art execution their love for detail and careful painstaking rendering. Graduating in 1979 I then began to paint full time.
In 1986 I moved to Jamaica to do a stint in the Peace Corps. Immediately upon arrival there, I knew that this place had the stuff to really impact my painting. I didn’t know exactly how it was going to be, or what it was going to be, but having always been on a quest to find the most beautiful forms and images that inspired me, here it was! As a person who had never traveled from the North American temperate zone, I became thoroughly inspired by Jamaica’s exotic vegetation. After my tour with the Peace Corps was over, I decided to make Jamaica my permanent home. Moving straight to a small mountain village, I found inspiration in the Jamaican Blue Mountains, as they virtually seemed to speak to me. I currently live about 3400 ft above sea level with an incredible mountain view which greets me daily.
My first solo exhibition was at Bolivar Gallery in Kingston in 1989 followed by a 1991 solo exhibition at the Berman Museum at Ursinus College in Philadelphia. As a result, there are now three of her paintings in their permanent collection.
In the late 1980’s, I met another artist, originally from NYC, who also fell in love with Jamaica and settled there. This person soon opened Chelsea Gallery in Kingston in which I had a solo exhibition every year for about 10 consecutive years. Continuing to show my work in Jamaica, and in other galleries abroad, my reputation developed over time. I have been fortunate to give painting my full and undivided attention for the past 26 years which has given me the opportunity to perfect my skills and focus my intentions.
Some of those who have collected my work are the late Prime Minister Michael Manley, the Governor of the Central Bank, for their collection as well as his private collection, and the Dutch ambassador, just to name a couple out of many. My work is also included in the recent edition of Jamaican Art, Then and Now.
The imagery in my paintings stem from things that I see here in Jamaica and that I think are incredible, sparking a personal interest within me. Many times it is in my immediate environment, drawing from nature. I internalize it and interpret the forms so the outcomes are personal and individual. I love to embellish, and I feel that my work concentrates on extraordinary attention to detail. My greatest aspiration is that my work will help to raise social consciousness, spirituality and a higher awareness through its beauty and inspiration.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1955; Resident of Jamaica since 1986
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Master of Fine Arts, 1979
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1977
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2002 Olympia Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
1999 “New Works” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston, Jamaica
1998 “Next Step” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston, Jamaica
1997 “Realizations” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston, Jamaica
1996 “Jamaican Earth” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston Jamaica
1995 “New Oils” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston Jamaica
1994 “Double Visions” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston Jamaica
1993 “Jamaica Botanica” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston Jamaica
1992 “Jungle Series” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston Jamaica
1991 “Snap Out of It” Chelsea Galleries; Kingston Jamaica
1990 “Spotlight: Amy Laskin-Tropical Paradise” Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, Ursinus College; Collegeville, Pennsylvania
1989 Bolivar Gallery; Kingston Jamaica
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2012 Carl Hammer Gallery; Summer 2012 ; Chicago Illinois
2011 The Mutual Gallery; The Real and the Imaginary; Kingston Jamaica
2010 The National Gallery of Jamaica Biennial; Kingston Jamaica
2010 Feminine Rising, Revolution Gallery; Kingston Jamaica
2008 "Journeys" 128 Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2008 The Olympia Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2007 "10 Contemporary Artists-Still Life’s" Seaview Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2007 The Olympia International Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2007 "Color My Mood" Island Art Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2006 The Olympia Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2006 The National Gallery of Jamaica Biennial; Kingston, Jamaica
2006 The Art Effects Gallery; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2005 The Olympia Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2004 The Art Effects Gallery; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2004 “Eight of the Great” Bolivar Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2003 The Olympia Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
2003 The Philadelphia Furniture & Furnishings Show; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2001 The Olympia Art Centre Gallery; Kingston, Jamaica
1999 "Jamaica Blue" London, England
1998 Jorge Sori Gallery; Miami Florida
1994 Woodmere Art Museum; Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania (awarded prize)
1995 Bianco Gallery; New Hope, Pennsylvania
1993 "Black and Red" Stendahl Gallery; Soho, NY
1993 Woodmere Art Museum; Chesnut Hill, Pennsylvania.
1992 "From Jamaica to Brooklyn" Salena Gallery; Long Island University, New York
1992 National Gallery of Jamaica Annual Exhibition; Kingston, Jamaica
1992 Woodmere Art Museum; Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania
1991 National Gallery of Jamaica Annual Exhibition; Kingston, Jamaica
1991 Owen Patrick Gallery; Manayunk, Pennsylvania
1991 Woodmere Art Museum; Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania
1990 "Floral Exhibition" & "Works by Women" Chelsea Galleries; Kingston, Jamaica
1990 "Illumination Landscape" Chelsea Galleries; Kingston, Jamaica
1989 National Gallery of Jamaica Annual National Exhibition; Kingston, Jamaica
1987 National Gallery of Jamaica Annual National Exhibition; Kingston, Jamaica
The Permanent Collection of the Berman Museum, Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA
The Bank of Jamaica, Permanent Art Collection
Honorable Late Prime Minister Michael Manley