Amy Archambault’s installations and sculptures uncover playful and unconventional activations of objects and environments. Her work investigates the state-of-play remembered from childhood, reintroducing it through the lens of a contemporary narrative to create unpredictable gestures of pretend. Archambault’s constructions incorporate the material and visual languages of childhood play, athletic culture and the home improvement, renovation, and repurposing domains. Incorporating the elements of painting, fabrication, interior design, and architecture, Archambault reveals a striking connection between her process of the morphing and amalgamation of objects familiar to her, and the way that children engage in “pretend.”
As a manipulator of everyday materials, Archambault takes on simultaneously the juxtaposed perspectives of an orchestrator of experience and a dreamer. Her new role as a mother continues to expand her perspective on the importance of play in life, underscoring its power and demanding its place today in our sedentary contemporary, technologically based society and educational systems. Additionally, Archambault’s interest in “do it yourself” practices and the ubiquitous “house project” permeates her work in the endless choosing of: colors, hardware, accessories, and proper tools for the job. She delights in the possibility of acquired materials and objects to yield atypical alternative functionalities.
As children, we dream, then devise and fabricate contraptions derived from our imaginations. We build these structures from improper materials for lack of a better option and with improper methods for lack of a better understanding of engineering. We become fascinated with the alternative functionality of the simplest form. Deep down, we know these structures for play won't work to the degree that which we anticipate, but our imagination inspires our ideas and motivates us to build not taking on the burden of being rational. Often these structures are intended for some grander performance or activity, but ultimately, the process and the result serve as the idea of play itself.
As adults, we recall these outlandish contraptions and their ability to trigger memories of great fondness. We observe the youth and their attempts to accomplish the same impractical feats we once sought after. Our perspective though has shifted as now we have the logic and reason to know what will and will not work and additionally, the access to more appropriate materials and methods. Such could mean the difference between our intentions succeeding and failing. And yet, knowing what we know, we aim to construct such contraptions from our memories, with the knowledge that they might not work, devoid of any illusion of its actual functionality.
Archambault’s work expands elements of collage into three-dimensional forms; creating hybrids of functional human-scale objects with inventive geometric abstractions and large interactive structures. She excites the viewer’s wonderment from their child within— the happy infectiousness of curiosity and inquisitive experimentation that is in all of us throughout life. Prime examples of Archambault’s expression and audience participation are present in her 2016 exhibition, “Imaginate” and her 2015 interactive installation, “inMotion: Memories of Invented Play.” She employs vibrant color palettes and a diverse combination of textures aligned to her source material and her memories. Archambault harmoniously tinkers blindly and constructs with intention. Her process is revealed by the presence of her hand, her tremendous focus and a necessary attention to detail.