Expressive, distorted and chaotic, Amy-Jean Muller’s ability to depict emotion and fury through her mark making not only creates frenetic line work, but a complex treatment of the canvas too. She explores the surface through gesture to build up the layers as a form of performance art in itself. Images are created using both mixed media and digital processes.
Traditional formats begin their process with the collection of materials and objects that are incorporated into the canvas, while digital depictions are layered through shape and the peeling away of images to the bone. She draws references from mythology, religion, and culture, where the process of artmaking becomes a form of a catharsis or ritual in itself. Rejecting the photorealistic form for abstraction and expression, her work poses questions, confronts beliefs and yearns for the viewer’s discomfort.
The Anointing’ Series (Title of the collection of works background)
The Anointing takes various references from religious iconography and repositions them to redefine the meaning of trust, betrayal, power and secrecy. Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene form part of anointing in two ways. The work depicts Mary of Bethany, (known as the ‘sinful woman’) with Mary Magdalene in a gruesome scene. Mary of Bethany is known for having washed Jesus’ feet with perfume and dried them with her hair. Jesus had noted the anointed feet had prepared him for his burial, which was a poignant premonition to the impended doom of his death. Mary Magdalene is known for bearing witness to the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. She was first to witness the empty tomb on her way to anoint his body. The empty tomb would be proof of his resurrection, and proof of hope. The women’s faces are celestial and pure, they are calm and angelic with halos. This is in stark contrast to their ease in the brutality of plucking and grasping.
The cockerel is a symbol to renounce darkness by calling in the light of day. The cockerels battle in the scene, as a reflection of two parts of themselves and their identity. This is a premonition to the act of the Mary’s plucking, choking and cut the throat of the bird. They aim to silence him which reinforces both denial and betrayal. This destroys the Christ-like promise that good will overcome evil. The call of repentance is smothered in the brutal act of murder.
Mary Magdalene is known for witnessing the crucifixion, burial and resurrection in the empty tomb on her way to anoint his body. She would be the first to know his resurrection absolved our sins. Yet she takes the blood to anoint instead. The work implies we are sinners driving idealistic world views, based on feeble perceptions. Our human failure is assuming perfection without sin and allowing politics to become the chapel of social worship and salvation to our fate. The brutality asks not necessarily what should have been done, but what are we capable of doing.
Mary of Bethany
Mary of Bethany is known for having washed Jesus’ feet with perfume and dried them with her hair as a preparation for his burial. The blood spilled by the bird becomes the perfume with which Jesus’ body and feet would be washed. The blood anoints the brutality, and it baptizes the animalistic nature of humanity. There is an impending nihilistic view, doomed by power and destruction, the future becomes a political manipulation.