Amy Pekal (b.1993)
Born New York, Lives and works in The Netherlands
Artist, researcher, and writer currently living and working in the Netherlands. In her practice, she examines how dominant ideologies shape our understanding of the natural world. As a visual ethnographer, investigating and constructing environments are fundamental elements to her methodology. Her practice requires long-term and durational investigation of earths cycles and the communities that work with them. Through fieldwork, she collects material and immaterial data; field sketches, conversations, and objects such as earth, stones, and sounds to form textured portraits of under-visible places and the communities that commit to the care and ongoing of these environments. She takes the objects back to the studio in an effort to preserve ongoing processes. Some of the collected matter such as earth and other elements end up in her sculptures. The amalgamation of performative acts in the process are the building blocks that is the impetus towards ecological wholeness. Her work has been exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Santiago, and Utrecht.
Pekal received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Marymount Manhattan College, and a Certificate of Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art. In 2017, she worked with students from DUOC UC Sede Alameda, Santiago Chile, where she was artist in residence and visiting professor in the department of design. That same year, she followed the resilient transformation of the pueblo of Nirvilio, which in 2017, was destroyed by wildfires. In her fieldwork, she documented the capacities and resilient motives of both the land and the inhabitants who endured and worked with the conditions before them. This research resulted in the body of work, Echoes. In 2018, Pekal dove deep into the contemporary discourse on the paradigm shift in research, especially through the practices of Artistic Research. Pekal’s investigations in decolonization and imagining new possibilities of working in spite of precarious Neoliberal circumstances lead her to the Netherlands where is currently an MA candidate in Arts & Society at Utrecht University.
Working closely with Casco: Art Institute Working for the Commons, and Utrecht Univeristy’s Oude Hortus. Her current research is an experimental ethnographic study of the cultural constructions of the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht, NL. By diving into the problematic history of the botanical garden she is intrigued by paradoxical current practices of care that she discerns in the garden. She is slowly developing an understanding of a garden as a site of resistance to gently counter the logic of neoliberalism.