Amy Rusch (b.1990, Cape Town, South Africa) is an interdisciplinary artist. She explores an expression of mark-making, using stitched thread into layers of found plastic bags. The layers of plastic, connected by the motion and soundscape produced by the machine, communicate aural and material aspects of our modern culture. The threads are an attempt to link and comprehend millions of years of layered stratigraphic time.
Her current body of work is informed by ocean crossings, archaeological excavations and microscopic studies of the living world. The works can be seen as tracings, translations or mappings of sensory lived – body experiences, becoming multisensory coalescences of sound, vibration, line and colour.
”Cutting, stitching, heating, pulling, binding, gathering, layering – these practices demand their own rhythm by turns slow and meticulous then quick, fast interventions. The motions enacted in
making provides a retrospective link to the embodied experiences, transmuted in the process. The machine stitching into plastic bags is not about replicating an experience, an object, or anything formally understood. The process is about sitting with the remnants of man-made materials; human time in contrast to the elemental and deep time.”
Amy worked on a body of work titled ‘LINEATIONS and Times Pathway’ for SESSIONS 2022, an 8-month process for visual artists guided by Dominique Edwards. This body of work attempts to find a new form of listening and brings together time explorations in iterations of expansion and compression. The machine-stitched works contain a very specific aurality that stands in contrast to the quieter and slower pace implicit in hand-stitched, or heat compressed plastic works. Lines contained in the works are isomorphic markings like the lines on a nautical chart, or the lines plotted on a map that represent motion and movement across the surface of the earth, which are translated into the traced lines on the chart or map. Thus, the work hopes to retain a felt awareness of movement through time and space. She thinks too of the invisible“thinking strings”, the lines that empathetically extend and connect us with all – human and more than human.
2022 The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize (Finalist),
CapeTown, South Africa
2021 Sasol New Signatures (Finalists Exhibition),
Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa
2022 Seeing with a Listening Ear (ArtistRoom), SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2016 Plasticity, 196 Victoria Road, Cape Town
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2023 Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa
2023 Room with a View, curated by Karen Elkington, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town 2022 Scratch, curated by Amy Ellenbogen at Lion Sands, Sabi Sands, South Africa
2022 Thresholds, (LINEATIONS and Times Pathway), SESSIONS Group Exhibition, Woodstock, South Africa
2022 Breakfast, curated by Amy Ellenbogen at Sister by Studio Ashby, London
2022 Within the Fold II, SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch
2022 Peter Clarke Art Centre Group Exhibition, Cape Town
2022 Within the Fold, SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg
2022 Arton the Walls, Artfor Action, Orms Cape Town School of Photography
2021 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition Finalist Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum 2020,
2021 Home Is Where The Art Is, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town
2020, 2021 Matereality, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
2023 FNB Art Joburg, Suburbia Contemporary, Johannesburg
2020 Investec Cape Town Art Fair, SMITH, CapeTown
2020 FNB Art Joburg, SMITH, Johannesburg
2019 Investec Cape Town Art Fair, SMITH, Cape Town
2019 FNB Joburg Art Fair, SMITH, Johannesburg
2017 AKAA–Also Known As Africa, Contemporary Art and Design Fair, Paris
Amy Rusch studied Motion Picture Production Design at City Varsity, School of Media and Creative Arts (2009 – 2011). The process-based skills acquired, including sculpting, moulding, casting, prosthetic production, and special effects make-up have equipped her to work in a number of fields including film, television, and theatre as well as on freelance projects and commission-based work with industrial designers, architects, archaeologists, and boat builders.
Amy has recently exhibited an artwork at the Norval Foundation as part of the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2023. She has shown work at the Pretoria Art Museum as part of the Sasol New Signatures Finalists Exhibition 2021, and at Iziko South African National Gallery as part of the ‘Matereality’ Exhibition between 2020 and 2021. In that same year, she exhibited a work at Zeitz MOCAA as part of their show ‘Home Is Where The Art Is’. In 2022 Amy presented a solo body of work titled ‘Seeing with a Listening Ear’ at SMAC gallery in Stellenbosch.
Amy worked as a lecturer in the Art Department at City Varsity in 2018 and 2019, and part-time at Peter Clarke Art Centre as an extra-mural art teacher in 2021. Between 2018 and 2020 Amy was represented by SMITH Gallery and exhibited in multiple group shows, as well as at Investec Cape Town Art Fair and FNB Art Joburg.
She was part of the team who made museum display copies of artefacts from archaeological sites, Blombos Cave, Klipdrift Shelter, and Klasies River Mouth. These have been exhibited in the ‘Origins of Early Southern Sapiens Behaviour Exhibition’ at Spier, Iziko South African Museum, and Wits Origins Centre in Johannesburg. They are now on permanent display at Cape Point. Amy has a full-time studio practice alongside participation in ongoing archaeological projects in the Northern Cape and the Southern Cape Coast.