David J. Sencer CDC Museum: In Association with the Smithsonian Institution Atlanta, Georgia, USA
May 20 – August 30, 2019
“The World Unseen:Intersections of Art and Science gathers the work of ten international artists who draw upon microbiology, biotechnology, anatomy, and texts in their investigations of microbes and cells, DNA, history of disease and science, the body, and beauty.”
About the Work
Amie Esslinger is an Atlanta based visual artist whose work explores how complexity emerges in a physical world. Drawn to unseen processes that have large-scale ramifications, the world of microbiology provides an aesthetic foundation to much of her work. This is a world in which genes mutate, cells divide and die, and viruses co-opt other cells. It is also a world where pandemics spread, species proliferate, and intelligence evolves. Although not representing biological categories literally, her work unfurls the hidden drama by emphasizing the activity of cellular interaction. Esslinger strives to create a static theater of hyper-activity, mimicking the world around and within us; a world about which we are thoroughly dependent, yet, largely unaware.
Throughout her childhood, Esslinger was immersed in the rich traditions and visual oddities of the self-taught art world of the rural north Georgia (USA) mountains. Concurrently, she encountered an array of shamanism and other metaphysical eccentricities. While the vibrant palettes and the DIY-with-whatever-you-can-find of her upbringing still resonate and profoundly influence her work, spiritual motifs do not. Instead, the natural world grounds and motivates Esslinger’s art practice.
Esslinger experiments with material, scale, and pattern to illuminate tensions between order and disorder, processes and things. She blurs the distinction between observable and unobservable, and suggests dynamics between living and non-living systems. Her meticulous arrangement of material stresses the physicality of her worlds, a physicality from which higher-order complexities emerge. The abstract biomorphs and hyper-palettes portray the energy and dynamism of biological processes and systems. By interjecting activity not visible to the human eye into the space of the gallery, Esslinger’s work draws the viewer in to experience promiscuous patterns of repetition and mutation constituting the reality of the aesthetic object. Drawing on experience with ceramics, fabric, and sculpture, her paintings and distinctive mixed-media installations result in a textured, hyper-patterned reverie revealing the latent vibrancy and possibilities hidden in the microscopic structure of the physical world.
Esslinger received her BFA with a concentration in drawing and painting from Georgia State University in 2008. She has shown in galleries throughout Atlanta, including the current exhibit, The World Unseen: Intersections of Art and Science at the David J. Sencer Centers for Disease Control Museum: In Association with the Smithsonian Institution. Esslinger has been a resident of Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York, and the Hambidge Center in Rabun, Georgia.