IN THE STUDIO: Amanda Manitach

Seattle-based artist Amanda Manitach creates bold, intricate graphite drawings that illuminate elemental human emotions through savvy, double-edged phrases. Her work features text that vacillates between honest, irreverent, and profound meaning, all delivered through snaking, blurred backgrounds that reference French wallpaper samples. Manitach plays with psychology of the feminine, abundantly twisting Instagram language and gendered stereotypes with knife-like precision, making the viewer reassess the words as universal truths.

Her latest work, “Let Us Strew That Path With Flowers (Emilie du Chatelet),” pushes this intensification of the boldface slogan into a digital realm. The video piece accurately mimics her drawings in scope and style but adds a temporal element that opposes her otherwise stable, stoic poetry.

It will be featured in our upcoming exhibition “Here and There,” which highlights the similarities and differences between digital and physical artwork from a selection of our artists.

Amanda Manitach, In The Studio

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years: bring my drawings to life, creating wallpaper where words are ephemeral, where pattern cascades, whorls, exhales. To realize this I worked closely with my partner, musician Jayson Kochan, to animate digitized scans and collages of my drawings.” – Amanda Manitach

Amanda Manitach, Let Us Strew That Path With Flowers (Emilie Du Chatelet), Excerpt, Video, 2021

Manitach’s work oftentimes highlights the act of drawing itself, where soft-hued smudges from her hands and arms coexist with baroquely detailed patterning. The video is contrastingly clean and full of sharp, rippling designs. The crawling, vinelike delicacy of her graphite work is replaced with the equally complex repetition of an ornate garden wall. The digitization of her work concretely brings to light the implied movement of her drawings, yet it also breaches new aesthetic territory.

Amanda Manitach, In The Studio

“The pattern is one I created inspired by elements of a wallpaper design by Walter Crane. I was drawn to his hyper-stylization of folds, waves, ever-winding lines—almost nothing in Crane’s work is straight. I wanted to further accentuate that sensation of intricate floridity through repetition and movement.” – Amanda Manitach

Amanda Manitach, Let Us Strew That Path With Flowers (Emilie Du Chatelet), Excerpt, Video, 2021

Manitach settled on a cycling jewel tone palette for the piece, which shifts through violets, greens, and golds as the titular phrase repeats. Robust, full lines of color take precedent over the thin, ethereal tone that informs much of her drawing.

Sketchbook notes for video piece

The video indulges in this hazy transience, propelling the viewer through slowly oscillating texture. Although the piece is digital, it retains the inviting warmth of her physical drawings.

In the studio with Rocky

“The quote for this piece comes from Emilie du Chatelet, 18th century mathematician, physicist and author: ‘Let us choose for ourselves our path in life, and let us try to strew that path with flowers.’ Among du Chatelet’s substantial CV are publications on the science of light, mathematic theories on kinetic energy, a discourse on the nature of happiness (which fiercely advocated for women’s education), a critical analysis of the entire Bible, and a translation of Isaac Newton’s ‘Principia’ (which remains the standard French translation of the work to this day). Her influence on the philosophical and scientific conversations of the time was vital, respected, and often hotly debated. In short, du Chatelet defied the rigid structures and stereotypes of her era, and this quote reverberates with the elegance of her approach to both life and scientific exploration.” – Amanda Manitach

Studio shot of Science Is Real, graphite on paper, 38×38, 2021

“Twinning this video is the graphite drawing Science Is Real. I think the sentiment behind it is self-evident: between climate change, pandemic, and the proliferation of technical confections large and small, the perceived gap between science and compassion, survival, faith, and art has increasingly shrunken to the point of collapse. I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate that fluidity in this drawing, which melds softness with hardness.” – Amanda Manitach

Both “Science is Real” and “Let Us Strew That Path With Flowers (Emilie du Chatelet)” will be featured in Here and There, which will run from December 8 through January 22.

Click here to view more work by Amanda Manitach