Amelia Fais Harnas

Wine Stains | 0 Comments

ARTIST AMELIA FAIS HARNAS PRESENTS ‘WINE STAINS’ PORTRAIT SERIES

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine StainsAbout Wine Stains

I create portraits by staining fabric with red wine using a wax resist (much like batiks) to build a light/dark pattern. I may decide to add embroidery (split stitch, to be precise) or machine sewing to reinforce the design or composition. The end result is a blend of chaos and control. (Rest assured: I drink the wine while I paint with it.)

A portrait artist at heart, I am particularly intrigued by the challenge of trying to control the unpredictable nature of wine bleeding through fabric in order to channel the equally imprecise nature of a person’s character.

In addition, the sacred aspect of wine lends itself to religious iconography: one who drinks wine may come to feel a certain level of saintliness sipping on this liquid form of divinity. Consider this is a form of reverent consecration.

When I started making wine stain portraits, my equipment was rather crude. I was melting dead candle remnants in a coffee can over a propane grill, painting the wax resist with a beat-up bristle brush, and using cotton bed sheets previously employed to protect tomato plants from frost. I have since upgraded my process a bit.

The first stains were made with a bottle of French Cahors, but subsequent stains feature Finger Lakes reds, like Damiani’s Vino Rosso, chosen for deep color, tannins, and low residual sugar.    

These works are fragile, so they entail a higher level of care than works in more traditional media. They require certain climate conditions, much like a good bottle of wine should be stored in a wine cellar. 

Autobiography

She was born with a blue and white sticker on her forehead proclaiming: Future Artist. When she was one or two, she inhaled paint thinner and had to sleep overnight in an airtent at Corning Hospital. When she was three or four, she danced in the living room to her favorite music, either Powaqqatsi or Rite of Spring. When she was five or six, she sang singsongingly almost nonstop and wore skirts with motorcycles and rainbows on them. 

When she was seven or eight, she built cities with her toys complete with class structures. When she was nine or ten, she experienced the pros and cons of belting out songs about altruism. When she was eleven or twelve, she could sustain meta-hysterical-laughter for hours. When she was thirteen or fourteen, she danced to 1950's advertising jingles in satin pants.  When she was fifteen or sixteen, she stared longingly at the National Gallery.

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

When she was seventeen or eighteen, she spent much of the day in one room with her watercolors, favorite brush, and mix tape after mix tape. When she was nineteen or twenty, she carefully labeled hundreds of photos and slides for legend-preservation purposes. When she was twenty-one or twenty-two, she decided it was best to stare at balance sheets and tiny strands of beads instead. 

When she was twenty-three or twenty-four, she toured the countryside and various landscapes of her heart and moved to Portland, OR. When she was twenty-five or twenty-six, she fell in love with gesamtkunstwerk. When she was twenty-seven or twenty-eight, with a BB gun in one hand and a No. 12 bright in the other, she invented and attended L'Université des Musées. When she was twenty-nine or thirty, she communicated almost solely through pyrotechnics and laser shows.

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

AMELIA FAIS HARNAS Wine Stains

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