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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Garth Amundson

SPE Member since 1999
Member Chapter: Northwest

Penetrating Cuts (KAC installation)

This body of work was initially produced specifically for an exhibition at Gallery Gowoon in South Korea. This installation consists of a row of twelve large 44" x 12' physically altered digital pigment prints which have been suspended from a simple tension cable system running from the back wall to the front of the exhibition space and has been altered and designed for several other exhibition spaces, including galleries in Sweden, New York, and, most recently, at the Kirkland Arts Center.nInstalled back-to-back, the installation relies on light to emphasize the hand-cut holes and define the images on both sides. As the viewer enters the space, they are faced with the totemic monumentality of the cut-out images.nUsing the historical archive as a point of departure, this exploration was spearheaded by our collaborative investigation into the historic application and use of vintage photographs. We have been working side-by-side on topics ranging from domestic motifs to immigration and identity politics. For this work, we have created large-scale prints using hundreds of vintage photographs found in thrift stores and antique shops as well as personal snapshots that we have been collecting for the past 27 years. These photographs metaphorically become historical evidence of our own lost identity. Social historian Judith Gutman expressed that "photographs may be our most perfect cultural artifact." We are interested in this notion of artifact / evidence not as a means of looking at the past but an expression of the present day. Using the technique of collage/montage and photo scanning to speak metaphorically about the social construction of identity, the prints will invite the viewer to think about their own construction by psychologically projecting themselves into the sea of seemingly familiar snapshots. The empty faces/voids become anyone and everyone. For further information, please visit our website at

Penetrating Cuts (reconfigured)

Penetrating Cuts (reconfigured)

Penetrating Cuts (reconfigured)

Penetrating Cuts (reconfigured)

Penetrating Cuts (KAC opening reception)

Penetrating Cuts (KAC installation view)

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