Amanda Onchulenko is an Australian and Canadian citizen, a painter, a fibre artist and a new author. She has maintained a studio practice in a 100+ year old building in Winnipeg’s Historic Exchange District since 2001.
I love color. I want my work to bring joy to the space it inhabits. I want you to feel better in its presence and I want it to be loved.
Colour is the focus of my creative output. It provides the vehicle for a journey that begins with landscape and evolves through process to become a suggestion of place, a document of where I am, informed by where I am from. I have retained parts of my immigrant heritage, not only in my voice but also in the way I express myself creatively with paint.
Every painter has a palette they are drawn to, favoured colours that form the foundation of their visual choices. Mine just happen to include the radiance of liquid brilliant blue and the lovely screaming nature of pyrrole red. Could they be an intuitive reference to the vibrant Australian light I had known?
Moving through ages and stages my oeuvre has evolved into a practice of painting with a preference for tinkering with colour relationships and expressively loose brushwork. I paint with a printmakers mindset holding one colour at a time in my hand to build my compositions in sheer and opaque layers. I wash my brush frequently, add compliments together to create darks without the use of black. I strive to keep colour clear and create movement by employing compositional devices disguised as subject.
The process of getting to where we are in any profession is the cumulative effect of lessons learned, experience and experimentation.
Our early experiences form the beginnings of a foundation that helps one to see in new and sometimes unusual ways. I inherited an analytical mind and see the beauty of details in the world around me.
I grew up in Australia where the study of art is a cherished intellectual pursuit and it was here I developed my interests in art history and architecture. I attended Australia’s premier art school in Sydney, now renamed as part of the University of New South Wales, where I graduated with a Bachelor or Arts in Art Education, majoring in painting and printmaking. (1984-88 incl) I spent a year of travel experiencing my studies before I found myself in Canada.
Those experiences ignited a lifelong passion that continues with my studio practice. Living a creative life does not have a beginning for me. There is no point in time I can remember that does not involve inquiry and experimentation with tools at hand.
Communication is key, especially as a new immigrant who is often misunderstood. Colour became the focus of my work and my painterly voice gradually became clear. Colour really does quiet me. It helps my soul to sing and it is definitely the language I choose to speak.
My voice really is clearer in colour.
“Your bold use of colour made my day.”
“Always high expectations, always exceeded.”