Over the past three years, Amy Hughes Braden has been a force in the DC art scene, developing a strong body of work. Her work has grown along with her portfolio and inclusion in some major exhibitions, events and projects. One of these events occurs this Saturday on November 22 at the 11th Annual Transformer Benefit Auction.
The Northern Virginia native has spent almost her entire life in the region, and, as such, the majority of her CV has the support of the surrounding area. This will be Braden’s second appearance in the Transformer mega auction, and she’ll be showing a drawing titled Endless Shrimp Are Here.
The piece has been specifically made for the auction, and builds upon a series that Braden has been showing exclusively at Transformer. The series is drawn from her fascination with Christian based religions that are heavy in iconography and ritual. In Endless Shrimp Are Here, Braden creates a graphite drawing with fluorescent acrylic paint that depicts the Virgin Mary and a blank space where baby Jesus should be. The blank space creates a cutout effect that serves as a dynamic contrast with the painstakingly rendered graphite Mary. Braden says, “I am interested in Mary as an icon and as a mother, and I’m wondering about who she is without the baby in her arms.” The greater meaning to Endless Shrimp Are Here is Braden’s desire to be a mother herself; Mary represents that deeper desire.
Braden says that, “the way I make art is the way I live my life; instinctually, always searching for humor, impulsively, messily.” The juxtaposition of the title of the piece with the deep subject matter shows the more humorous side of Braden. The title of the piece, obviously having nothing to do with religion, was inspired by a commercial. Braden finds inspiration in the world around her but she says that she often draws inspiration from pop culture, specifically commercials and advertisements. Braden doesn’t necessarily associate her work with a specific commercial but rather the humor that she sees in the way our culture might adore “endless shrimp,” in the way that those who are religious worship Mary.
In addition to Transformer, Project Dispatch keeps Braden busy both with exhibits and mailing out original art to subscribers. The next Project Dispatch show, “Unseen” opens November 21, at John Fonda Gallery in Baltimore. Braden also recently launched the Zerozero Collective with her husband, fellow artist, Alex Braden, and friends Zaki Ghul and Yassine El Mansouri. As long time friends, they are hoping to produce some exciting projects in the coming months. They recently installed Axon Xylophone Bridge in Ballston, which will be up through March 2015. Braden is especially excited about the work she is making in collaboration with Joseph Orzal. They will be mounting a show of their work in a DC house space in the near future.
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