amanda jaffe

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Each of these pieces has a central dividing line that either physically separates it into two parts, making it a diptych or by a color change. In the works shown here I have used three disparate themes: 1. northern US /southern US border; 2. mother/father; 3. peaceful place/ turbulent place. They all contain distinct contrasts. I will discuss the specific contents separately:


Montana/New Mexico


In 1985 I moved from Helena, Montana to Las Cruces New Mexico to teach at New Mexico State University. Every summer I return to Montana. I still feel very attached to Montana. But over many winters living in southern New Mexico I have become equally attached to a very different culture and landscape close to the Mexican border.  I continue to travel back and forth but wish at times that I could be in both places at the same time. Pieces At Once, At Once II  and North/South address this dilemma as well as weather and landscape differences. Also important is the influence of Mexican culture on the border region and how it contrasts with Montana culture. As this body of work develops I want the brightly colored flowers of the south to mix more freely with the reserved color of the leaves. I also want to address changing American demographics.




Since my parents died in 2009 and 2011 I have worked on an ongoing series about them as a couple. Their ashes were buried in a grass covered church yard close to, but not part of the church graveyard. Their remains were placed in adjacent rectangular holes in biodegradable boxes along with flowers. Then the sod was returned to cover the holes.  No head stones mark the graves. Blue/Yellow II has two deep brown holes in a grass field. One hole is filled with blue flowers for my mother, the other filled with yellow leaves for my father. The color of the objects in the holes is significant. Blue was by far my mother's most favorite color. She painted her house blue, her car was blue, the tiles and carpet were blue, the towels were blue , the dishes were blue and of course her clothes were blue. It seemed, that in her mind, there was blue and then there were all the other colors. Nothing compared in beauty to blue in her mind. If she had a choice of color for something, she would almost always chose blue. My dad was red green color blind and disliked colors that appeared grey to him. He could see yellow and he liked yellow.




As I child I liked to rake up a large pile of leaves and lay down in it. Resting in a deep, soft, sweetly scented pile of fall leaves was soothing. The beautiful color of the leaves enhanced the experience. As an adult I look out in my yard at the fallen leaves and imagine myself laying down and relaxing in them. Now as an artist I have chosen a pile of bright yellow leaves as a visual representation of tranquility. In contrast to this state of peace evoked by the leaves, I have juxtaposed an image of turmoil in the form of a whirlpool or tornado that is sucking the leaves under.