Amanda Musick is a photography-based artist currently living and working in Upstate South Carolina. Her studio practice explores the ways in which a photograph can operate to represent the natural environment.
Musick received her BFA in Studio Art from East Tennessee State University. She is an MFA candidate concentrating in photography at Clemson University and is expected to graduate in December 2018.
2017 — present
This recent work examines the natural environment and the ways in which a photograph can function to represent place. The dichotomy of artificial and natural environments is explored through using photographs I made in real landscapes to construct new, illusive vistas and forms.
The landscape collages are created through a process of deconstructing a photograph to reconstruct another. The floating landscapes forms are made from the deconstructed remains of the collages. The way in which these forms float in space portray a sense of loss, void, and skewed reality. The processes of deconstruction and reconstruction I employ speaks to our continually changing landscape as well as our attempt to preserve and piece it back together.
Q&A: CLEMSON UNIVERSITY
Why Clemson University?
Our program generously provides a tuition waiver and assistantship to graduate students. This has allowed me to give more attention to my studio practice and provided multiple semesters of teaching experience. The faculty are talented, lively, and approachable. That was evident from my first visit. The department is supportive of interdisciplinary methods and encourages directed research in other concentrations.
How has your experience at your school informed or shaped your work?
This recent work started in Fall 2017 after receiving a scholarship from Clemson’s Art Department for a self-proposed research project. The scholarship allowed me to take a road trip around the US to make photographs in a variety of landscapes. I returned with a visual bank of photographs to work with in the studio. The faculty supported my experimentation with the photographs I had made during the trip. In our program we have the opportunity to work with faculty in other concentrations. Each semester we have reviews and open studios that include all of the art department faculty. Along with studio visits from visiting artists, it has been incredibly helpful to receive such diverse feedback.
G-16, the photography graduate studio, is the place to be. The space allows for multiple photographic processes to take place at once. We have three small darkrooms and a large digital/multipurpose workspace. Working with two other graduate students in the space, we each had plenty of room to be productive. We also hold a small collection of wheeled vehicles devices that allow us to take a mental break and parade past the other graduate studios. My work has often engaged a sense of play and I would say that this community has enriched that approach.
Undoubtedly, location has greatly influenced my work. Clemson sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is surrounded by lakes and forests which has led me to make work that is centered around landscape.
What kind of exhibition or arts-related job opportunities exist in the area for current students and recent graduates?
Clemson is in a nice central location, less than two hours from Atlanta, Charlotte, and Asheville which allows for quick visits to galleries and museums in larger metropolitan areas. We are only a few miles from Greenville, SC which has a growing community of galleries, artists, and studios. Many recent grads and current students find jobs/internships there, as well as open their own studios.
What’s the most memorable piece of advice you've received from a mentor?
I am thankful to have had several wonderful mentors who have taken the time to understand my decision-making process and how I learn. My photography advisor, Anderson Wrangle, has continually taught me to take a step back, be confident, and simplify my methodology. Earlier in the program, I would show new work and frustratingly attempt to express anything and everything about it. Often his response would be to, “Keep going” and see where the work goes. Continuing to make the work always turned out to be the best method for me to find answers and understand how the new work functioned. --Later I learned that my original way of thinking could be referred to as, “Grad-head.”
What advice do you have for prospective students looking to attend your school?
When applying to programs in general, you should plan a visit. It is extremely beneficial to see the facilities and community for yourself and to interact with people currently in the program. The best times to visit Clemson would be during an open house or one of the MFA or BFA show receptions held at the end of each semester. Our program provides a close-knit community among the undergrads, grads, and faculty. You should research the work of the faculty as well as recent graduates.
Where can we keep up with your photo department online?