“Amelia Briggs’ work eludes comparison. The Nashville-based artist is best known for sculptural abstract paintings she calls “inflatables” — bulgy, candy-colored fusions of panel, pillow stuffing, fabric and paint that look like they might possess the unusual physical properties of Silly Putty. But each piece, inspired by toys, cartoons and other childhood memorabilia from the '80s and '90s, is as emphatically familiar as it is alien, and this visual slippage serves as a trap door to thinking about memory and identity formation.”
-Melinda Baker in the Tennessean, March 2019
“To a certain generation, Amelia Briggs’ work will bring immediate and powerful associations. I’m thinking those of us who grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the elder millennials and the Gen X kid sisters, for whom She-Ra and Puffalumps and Popples bring waves of Malibu Musk-scented nostalgia. We’ll take one look at Briggs’ “inflatables” — puffy paintings on canvases that are stretched on top of fabric-filled forms — and see remnants of an Ocean Pacific childhood.”
-Laura Hutson Hunter in Nashville Scene, March 2019
I read that you reassemble and edit “visual cues associated with the graphic representations of comics, coloring books, and cartoons,” and wanted to ask you to expand on that and also to talk about your relationship to comics, coloring books and cartoons, and the effect that they’ve had on your work?
-Interview with Beatrice Helman for Maake Magazine, September 2018
"Briggs’s colorful pieces are difficult to decipher at first glance, further disrupting expectations and the viewing experience. The artist uses fabric, polyfill, and faux fur to create undulating, textured surfaces, then adds playful color with layers of paint. Many of her colors schemes feature soft, pastel tones, signifying youthfulness. Existing somewhere between painting, fiber art, and sculpture, her artwork inherently resists categorization. Equally ambiguous are the forms of her pieces: while a few works are triangular or square, most are irregular in shape. Works such as Responsibility (2018) and Face Forward (2018) have gentle ombres that transition across the fleshy folds of the fabric. Others, including Myth (2017) and Life on Land (2018), feature blotches of vibrant color and energetic lines that are reminiscent of plastic kiddie pools. Easiest (2018) stands out as the most representational of the bunch, bearing verisimilitude to a blanket with ruffles; looking at this piece, I am immediately transported to my grandmother’s house and a decorative blanket hanging over the back of a couch. The abstraction employed by Briggs leaves the work open-ended enough for viewers to create their own connections."
-Kevin Warth, Ruckus, September 2018
"The gravity of these pieces is both sustained by and contradicted by the scintillating color, which oscillates in a dreamy space between pale grey and neon extremes. A feeling of neglect pairs with one of nostalgia - the memory of play through the lens of some forgotten unknown. The viewer suspects a betrayal of sorts - the evidence of a puncture, excessive hardening, the material not being what it seems (as with moments where the substrate rolls and congeals to reference unknown biological substance). The referential shape of the canvases allows Briggs to toy with kitsch in a way that introduces an absurd happiness, tempting the observer to ask, “is this too good to be true?”
-Briana Bass, Mineral House Media, March 2018
"Peachy Keen spent the evening talking art (and drinking a little wine) in the Nashville studio of artist Amelia Briggs. We discuss the gendered psychology of the found imagery she uses from vintage comics and children's coloring books and how she subverts narrative in her formal process, which is split between object making and painting."
-Vivian Liddell, Peachy Keen Podcast, December 2017
"Artist Amelia Briggs exiled herself to a small Michigan town to figure out if she had the dedication to pursue a career in art. Now, she is the director of Nashville's outpost of David Lusk Gallery, and she talks to fellow artist Alysha Irisari Malo, the co-founder of a new arts organization in Wedgewood-Houston. With CONVERGE, Alysha and her husband, Eric, are bringing neighbors and developers to the table together."
-Erica Ciccarone, WeHome Podcast, November 2017
"For this exhibition, Briggs brings together selections from two bodies of work that were inspired by coloring books, cartoons, and comics, as well as big questions about the role images and play have on development and identity. “Inflatables,” features pastel, irregular three-dimensional paintings that combine acrylic, oil, and stuffed fabric and faux fur. “Small Green Plane,” is comprised of concise, fragmented drawings that have been printed on silk, satin, or other fabrics. Both series occupy the zone between abstraction and actuality, echoing the vague, open-ended narrative of creativity as well as being."
-Melinda Baker, Tennessean, August 2017
"In we are not together yet, Briggs will show works that are a combination of sculpture and painting — think Robert Rauschenberg’s “Bed.” Her pieces incorporate stuffed fabric and inflatable toys with layers of vaguely cartoonish drawings and muted pastel colors that make the whole thing seem childish and more ethereal."
-Laura Hutson Hunter, Nashville Scene, August 2017
"It may be easy to talk about the influences behind Briggs’ pieces, what she likes about them visually, her process of making them. What isn’t easy is talking about why. A viewer starts looking for an explanation—especially a woman like myself who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s and finds the colors and bulbous shapes to be particularly familiar. There’s something incredibly innocent about the perky pink and turquoise, but something worn down about the textures hidden beneath thick paint. I want to chew on these inflatables, see how they taste, put one in my mouth, like a baby—maybe that will give me some answers. (When I tell Briggs this, she laughs lightly and says, “Do it.”) But Briggs’ work is formal, very rarely conceptual, and it dodges comparison."
-Cat Acree, Native Magazine, August 2017
"Most commanding could be the Inflatables, Briggs’s series of oil and acrylic paintings worked on top of meticulous constructions of stuffed fabric and faux fur on panels. Briggs invests heavily in the sculptural process of creating the canvases, treating them as objects first, devoid of any visual intention or plan. “It’s completely separate from thinking about painting.”
-Megan Kelley, Nashville Arts Magazine, August 2017
"I am always looking to present some sort of visual connection to a viewer’s relationship with cartoons or coloring books, whatever that may be. I am interested in these lines and shapes as a shared language that many people might relate back to their youth. I like to present a fragmented version of that narrative, one that has been emptied of specificity."
-Uprise Art Journal Interview, May 2017
Amelia Briggs’ small fabric prints from her series "Small Green Plane” were a wise curatorial choice and worked well to break up the mass of large gestural paintings. At 14″x14″ and housed within thin white frames, Briggs’ muted prints of partially erased—or intentionally incomplete—illustrations retained a level of conflicting austerity in what would otherwise could have been playful drawings. On first encounter the works are reminiscent of early 20th Century animated cartoons, yet maintain no particular image or recognizable form that would indicate this. Rather, this effect is produced from the quality of line and indicated action within the frame. Ambiguously specific, Briggs’ prints surreptitiously engage the viewer in content that is not there, letting the viewer complete the image for her.
"Fellow Nashvillian Amelia Briggs brings the eclectic ensemble full circle with her cartoon-derived prints, reminiscent of Kim’s quirky ceramic characters. Primarily a painter, Briggs utilizes her prints somewhat as preliminary studies for larger projects. In fact, they are overwhelmingly black and white for this show and could pass as graphite sketches from a distance. Based on the phrase “we are not together yet,” they concern the search for identity and complement Wilder’s political sentiment."
-Elaine Slayton Akin, Nashville Arts Magazine, March 2017