Born in New York City, Sandy Litchfield lives and works in Amherst, Massachusetts where she is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Department of Architecture. She received her BFA from the University of Colorado in Boulder and her MFA from UMass Amherst. In 2007 she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been recognized with grants and commissions from the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority, Public Art for Public Schools, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Puffin Foundation. Litchfield has exhibited in numerous museums including the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, The Fitchburg Art Museum, The Portland Art Museum and The Hunterdon Museum. Her exhibitions have been selected for review by The Brooklyn Rail, The Boston Phoenix, New American Paintings and The Boston Globe.
My work is focused on landscape as a construct for understanding place and notions of belonging. As a painter, I position my work in the legacy of early American modernists painters. But I am also deeply influenced and affected by Eco-Fiction/ Eco-Feminist authors like Octavia Butler, Ursula K LeGuin, Donna Harroway and Robin Wall Kimmerer. These writers have cleared new paths for exploring and understanding our relationship with place; a relationship that is reciprocal, entwined and synonymous. I make paintings that express the feeling of a place as we may experience it while traveling or in memory; when the impression or gesture of the place is vague but poignant, familiar but faint, tangled but also patterned and arranged. The colors, shapes or textures may evoke something fleshy, or prickly, or smooth in a way that connects our internal and external experience. The landscapes I like most are the ones that embrace and engage our emotional and spiritual yearnings. They offer a way out– and a way in– simultaneously.
When I make art for public places, I look and listen carefully to the wholeness of that place– the living and nonliving, the animate and inanimate, the light, the seasons, the pathways, the voices, barks and birdsongs. I weave these elements together into a tapestry that celebrates that terroir. Collaborating with other creative practitioners– architects, fabricators, contractors, as well as clients and community stakeholders– always enriches the process. Making public art is an opportunity to forge connections; connections between diverse communities, connections to our history, connections to place and connections to our own sensory experience.
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