Amanda Lebus is a multi-faceted printmaker whose work hovers delicately between print, sculpture, puppetry and theatre, writes Jim Anderson RE. Using storytelling and atmospherics, her exhibitions have the atmosphere of rituals.
As a student in Edinburgh in the late 80’s, Lebus produced some of the most physical printed matter I have ever seen. With mud featuring amongst the ingredients, she made some of the grungiest aquatints south of Emil Nolde. These creations grubbed around in some very earthbound zones indeed, so it is intriguing that her current work makes a virtue of its lightness and near-invisibility.
An Amanda Lebus exhibition now consists of a space hung with diaphanous banners of silk, printed in translucent greys and greens with curious shamanistic images. The effect is like being caught in a mist inhabited by vaguely recognisable ghosts from our collective unconscious. From a certain angle, everything is invisible, but move a step to one side and the light picks out baleful owls, prancing neanderthals and strange half-human half-animal beasts.
Part of the joy of Lebus’s work lies in the fact that these ethereal images are basic woodcuts, gouged out of cheap-and-cheerful plywood. (In the past she has exhibited the blocks as well, as if to remind us of their essential simplicity.) The erriness of the display is all in the presentation.
It makes perfect sense that this artist should now be working with Welfare State International. Welfare State is a loose collective of artists and performers who have devoted themselves to investigating alternatives to our threadbare, modern rituals. Lebus’s work – witty, ethereal and earthy – suggests ways of re-animating our relationships with the natural world and our own natures.”
Review from Printmaking Today Vol 11 No 4