A brush with... Amy Sillman

Ben Luke talks to Amy Sillman about her influences—including writers, film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work. Sillman, who was born in 1955 in Detroit, Michigan, grew up in Chicago, and lives and works in New York, is one of the most brilliant and original painters working today. Her art is steeped in the history of painting, but manages to build on traditions while also taking an irreverent and playful approach to the medium’s time-honoured qualities: colour, line, scale, shape, figure and ground. She also pushes her painting into experimental territory through animated drawings and zines. Among a wealth of references, she discusses the early influence of Saul Steinberg, her passion for the work of artists as diverse as Prunella Clough, Maria Lassnig and Howard Hodgkin, and the enduring influence of Gertrude Stein and Fred Moten. She reflects on a life-changing trip to India and the diverse cultural landscape of late-1970s New York. Plus, she gives insight into her life in the studio and answers the ultimate question: what is art for?

Amy Sillman: Temporary Object, Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples, from 26 April. Faux Pas: Selected Writings and Drawings, After 8 Books, 300pp, €20/£20/£24.95 (pb); amysillman.com

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