March is Women’s History Month. Throughout the month we be profiled D.C. based women you should know. Amy Morse, the founder of Ideas Club, headed the project. Today she profiles Amber Robles-Gordon. If you’d like to reach Amy, tweet at her. -ed.
Amber is a D.C.-based changemaker who turns big ideas into visual art. Her work, which ranges from 50-foot banners draped on D.C. buildings, to installation art and mixed media assemblages, addresses global consumerism, gender imbalance and other major social cultural themes. Through the symbolic use of materials and their interactions, she exploratory meditations on her work read like spiritual healing practice. Her vantage point is unique, academically grounded (MFA in painting from Howard University), and incredibly beautiful. For those who enjoy interacting with creative nonfiction cultural critiques, she is a gem in D.C. of social commentary, drawing from an intuitive connection to herself and her spiritual practice.
Her work is representational of her experiences and the paradoxes found in the female experience. She focuses on fusing found objects to convey memories, inspired by nature, womanhood, and her belief in recycling energy and materials. Amber’s intention is to create artwork that visually parallels the social and gender inequalities that are manifested in the world due to the imbalance of feminine and masculine energies. The foundation of most of her artwork is composed of fences, grids, ropes or representations of a matrix. These symbolically masculine items, when composed of metal, are traditionally used to provide structure, delineate boundaries and to control or dominate. She chooses materials that seem to exemplify femininity as well as question perception of self, other women, and our consumer behaviors and materialistic values. She juxtaposes and weaves colorful objects and materials, symbolic of the feminine energy, through the masculine forms in attempt to balance the implied social boundaries the original structure represents. Through her artwork she explores her love and connection to color, to nature and to her experiences of being a woman in a patriarchal society. Through the act of creating with color, she is connected to a natural source of energy and thus to hope, life and vitality.
Recycling is very important aspect of her artwork. She uses found objects and recyclable materials to bring forth a dialogue about societal consumption and global consumerism. She intentionally combines found or used objects and various colored materials for their intrinsic value and energy as well as to encourage recycling within our communities and world.
Women Who Inspire Her
There is no one woman she admires. She is inspired by the collective energy of women—the feminine—that has allowed women, and specifically women of color, to move metaphysical mountains within their own lives, their communities and throughout the world. She is also encouraged by the women who see themselves and other people of color as more than the imposed boundaries of society. Examples of women who had this perspective were: Harriet Tubman (who kicked serious ass in every way until she was 93), Ida B. Wells (Civil Rights activist and journalist), Alma Thomas (DC-based expressionist painter), Lous Mailou Jones (Harlem Renaissance painter), Bell Hooks (feminist writer) and Octavia Butler (sci-fi writer and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient).