Artist Amy Sol has always had a special affinity for forests and nature. Though she now lives and works in the dry desert region of Las Vegas, she spent her childhood years in Korea, where the landscape is dotted with lush evergreen forests. In fact, it could be said that forests taught her how to paint- when Amy Sol was little, she would pause VHS tapes of Disney classics and copy the Tyrus Wong oil backgrounds in Bambi and Eyvind Earle’s stylized landscapes in Sleeping Beauty.
When we first brought you her work, featured on the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 5, the self-taught artist was already painting the whimsical dreamscapes she has become known for today. Now as she prepares for her upcoming solo “Garden Gamine” at Thinkspace Gallery, Sol looks to build on her fantastical world with new symbolism and artistic techniques: “Experimenting with mediums is the phase I am in right now”, says Sol, who just started using oil paint a year ago. “It is a huge challenge for me, and I feel it’s good because there are so many possibilities to be explored. My biggest rule is to trust my instinct.”
The beautiful women in her oil paintings for “Garden Gamine” express a beauty and delicacy, but also a sense of youthful mischief, as Sol’s title seems to suggest. We find them surrounded by animals both real and mythological like foxes and fawns with magic horns, suspended in a moment in time in luxuriant environments. The spirit of the character she paints is connected to the earth, to nature, flanked by sunrises and flowers to reflect her youth and awakening of maturity. “A simple shape of a leaf or lines of a branch can communicate so much within a painting, it’s a big part of my visual language,” she says.
Next to nature, evoking a feeling or emotion is equally important to Sol. With all of her pieces, Sol says that she is guided by her intuitions and follows her instincts for color and composition. In this sort of ecological utopia, Sol’s characters share an intimate relationship to their environment that is free from human brutality, a sanctuary where they are posed as protectors or guardians. As humans, we too often see nature as an obstacle to be overcome, not as something that we can live alongside. By positioning her characters as intermediaries, Sol expresses her hopefulness for mankind’s future: We are unable to achieve this ideal at the moment, but it doesn’t mean we never will. Amy Sol’s “Garden Gamine” opens at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles on April 2nd.