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Introduction

Amanda Outcalt (b. 1985, Raleigh, North Carolina) explores social and psychological connections to momentary experiences. Detailed illustrations of large and unwieldy mammals, including bears, bison, camels, elephants, and walruses, are etched onto hand-shaped copper plates, embossed on pristine paper, and adorned with tinted washes, hand-stitched threads, and iridescent paint creating charmingly peculiar scenes. Outcalt’s intensive process of combining intaglio printmaking and the embellishment of works on paper results in a narrative that appears playful at the outset but carries significant weight. The monumental creatures are often seen positioned on precarious objects, such as circus balls and ice floes, while adorned in party hats and tethered to jewel-hued balloons.

Outcalt’s visual vocabulary is informed by personal struggles with natural pregnancy loss and infertility, as well as difficulties related to memory recall. The anthropomorphized animals reflect emotions, such as anxiety, contentment, and longing. Outcalt’s distinctive compositions and diverse use of media reflect optimism, growth, and an eagerness to return to normal during this extraordinary moment.

Tephra ICA at Signature, located at the Signature apartment building in Reston, VA, is an innovative satellite gallery space that presents a year-round schedule of exhibitions featuring work by local and regional artists as selected by Tephra ICA curatorial staff. Provided in partnership with Boston Properties and Bozzuto. Due to COVID-19, access to the Signature building is currently limited to residents only.

Installation Views

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Artist Statement

"My mixed media work explores the interplay between individual identity and community. I think of myself as a storyteller and an artist, and each unique work tells a story centered upon different themes occurring in the world around me and my own life. I use portraits of humans and animals to explore different ideas through symbolism such as success, body image, and memory. For example, often times an elephant will represent memory in my work, and a hippopotamus will represent body image concerns. Common themes in my work that reference identity and community are memory, domesticity, career, home, health, and societal norms." - Amanda Outcalt

“I am an isolated worker, methodically working 7 days per week on different aspects of multiple pieces; tiny mark making, threading and stitching, and pulling prints. The pandemic has helped me enjoy weekends and allowed time for rumination.”

Process first person

Trying to Keep it Together (detail), 2020

The Process 

"Intaglio printmaking (sometimes called etching) is a form of printmaking in which an image is incised into the plate surface with lines, and those lines hold ink. Beginning with a copper plate, I apply an acid-resistant ground then draw into the ground to certain areas. Where the ground is removed, the copper has been exposed. The plate then goes into an acid bath, and the acid eats away at areas of exposed copper. Once the copper comes out of the acid, the ground is removed, and the drawn, now incised, image is left on the copper plate.

What is unique about my work is that I use copper plates with irregular edges, which I create by using a small jeweler’s saw to shape and cut the copper plates after the etching process. Once I have sawed and filed my edges, the plate is ready to print. To print my copper plates, I apply ink by hand and remove any excess ink. Once the plate is ‘wiped’, I place it on the bed of a large drum press, and place a piece of damp paper on top of the plate. I roll the plate with the paper on top through the drum of the press, and the pressure of the roller drum transfers the image and embosses the edges of the plate into the paper during the process. Then, I am free to embellish the prints through painting, collage, sewing, and other mixed media processes." -  Amanda Outcalt

Exhibition Checklist

Artist Biography

Amanda Outcalt, currently living and working in Washington, D.C., graduated in 2008 with a BFA in Painting and Metalworking from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, and she pursued a K–12 Art Education License at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk VA. Since 2017, Outcalt has traveled the country participating in prestigious juried art festivals and winning awards of distinction at 22 of the 31 shows she participated in, including the 2019 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival presented by Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art. Her work has been included in group shows at The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA.; the Charles Taylor Art Center in Hampton, VA.; the Emerge Gallery in Greenville, NC; and Park Gables Gallery in Harrisonburg, VA.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Hope During the Storm, 2020

Hope During the Storm, 2020

Hope During the Storm (detail), 2020

Hope During the Storm (detail), 2020

Forever Summer, 2020

Forever Summer, 2020

Forever Summer (detail), 2020

Forever Summer (detail), 2020

Pop Gun, 2020

Pop Gun, 2020

Grief and Love, 2020

Grief and Love, 2020

Grief and Love (detail), 2020

Grief and Love (detail), 2020

Trying to Keep it Together, 2020

Trying to Keep it Together, 2020

Hope During the Storm, 2020

Hope During the Storm, 2020

Hope During the Storm (detail), 2020

Hope During the Storm (detail), 2020

Forever Summer, 2020

Forever Summer, 2020

Forever Summer (detail), 2020

Forever Summer (detail), 2020

Pop Gun, 2020

Pop Gun, 2020

Grief and Love, 2020

Grief and Love, 2020

Grief and Love (detail), 2020

Grief and Love (detail), 2020

Trying to Keep it Together, 2020

Trying to Keep it Together, 2020

Videos

Video of Amanda Outcalt Artist Talk

Artist Talk: Amanda Outcalt

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