Ambera Wellmann:
An Artistic Palimpsest

VAULT sat down with Ambera Wellmann to strip back the layers of her work, ahead of the artist’s exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art..

FEATURE by Tai Mitsuji

Naked bodies interlock and couple. I say bodies because I am not certain how many people are lying on the bed in front of me– or, for that matter, whether it is a bed. In Ambera Wellmann’s Provender (2019), the painted lines that typically define and delineate form have (for the most part) been left behind: replaced with gestural marks that allude to, rather than prescribe, the presence of the body. It is not just that the spaces between the bodies have been dissolved in the painting; it is that the very boundaries of form appear to have also melted away. The scene is visceral, dark, and psychologically riven; it paradoxically feels both honest and opaque.

Provender is one of several paintings that Wellmann will be presenting in On Vulnerability and Doubt, a forthcoming exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne. The show includes a spread of Australian and international artists, and focuses on – in the words of the gallery – “questions of intimacy, vulnerability, doubt, desire, modesty, awkwardness and love.” Glancing through this thematic inventory, it is easy to see how Wellmann’s work could find a home among the ideas.

The Canadian expat has lived in Berlin for the past few years, yet I can still hear traces of her homeland in the voice that answers my call. After a few inevitable minutes of struggling to hear one another we get to the motif at the centre of Wellmann’s work: the female form. “I feel that violence and eroticism have been disguised or suppressed successfully for ... Subscribe to read this article in full

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