There is always more than meets the eye: Toronto artist Amanda Clyne

Amanda Clyne - Erased
Amanda Clyne - Wallflower
Amanda Clyne - Wallflower

Erased - Amanda ClyneErased - Amanda Clyne

Toronto artist Amanda Clyne (Drawing and Painting, 2009) devotes herself to her full-time practice, working in her own backyard studio-gallery space. Her work is exhibited and reviewed around the world, and in 2016 she was recognized by the Ontario Arts Council with an Emerging Artist Grant.  


It’s a dream that almost didn’t happen — Clyne was a corporate lawyer in New York City who quit to pursue art. At first she studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York, but soon transferred to OCAD U. “I grew up in Toronto and envied everyone who went to OCAD U. It had a special aura about it,” she says. “When I was accepted into OCAD U it was one of the best days of my life.” 

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Clyne was a Medal Winner in her program, for a large-scale triptych of historical and contemporary imagery from the room at the Prado Museum in Madrid where Veásquez’s Las Meninas is displayed. “The themes of my current work can be seen in the nascent stage in that painting, including my interest in the history of portraiture, the effect of textiles and couture and the representation of the feminine,” she says.  


After graduating from OCAD U she pursued an MFA in Visual Arts from York University, with the support of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Since then her work has shown in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Several of her works are included in corporate collections, including those of Holt Renfrew and Astra Zeneca. 

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Clyne describes her work today as driven by her interest in portraiture, the limitations of the visual and the relationship of the feminine to representations of power and vulnerability. “My paintings are conceived as portraits of invisibility,” she says. “There’s always more than meets the eye.” 


Clyne is currently exploring two new bodies of work for future exhibitions, and is also frequently invited for artist talks and guest teaching, something she enjoys: “I’m very conscious of the vulnerabilities and doubts that students experience in making art and in wanting to be better, so I work to be as honest and helpful as my best instructors were with me.”  


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