Amelia Mendelsohn

MFA | Painting & Drawing


I grew up along the coast in Kingsland, Georgia. I received my BA in studio art and art history from Sweet Briar College. I currently live in South Bend, Indiana and recently earned my MFA in painting and drawing at the University of Notre Dame. I love running, thrifting, and the color pink.


My work explores everyday domestic scenes culled from archival family photos. These photos are remnants of memories that, when translated to canvas, reveal destructive family structures hidden within everyday familiarity. I am concerned with familial conflict existing within mundane domestic scenes, especially when social mores and value systems bury traumatic experiences within the home. Efforts to conceal and repress these events imbue everyday scenes with foreboding unease. Patterns of insidious and abusive familial relationships may manifest both physically and mentally. This dynamic causes family conflict to become an inheritance, allowing gender roles and normative values to echo across generations. 

I am informed by feminist reinterpretations of the uncanny as it operates within domestic environments. Imogen Racz describes the uncanny as “not just a feeling of alienation, but an experience of the unfamiliar within the familiar, such as when something strange appears at the heart of the home. Rather than being something that can be represented in art, the uncanny is experienced through an instability within the self, a loss of a fixed point of reference, so the imagination fills the gap”. Additional art historians and theorists such as Alexandra Kokoli apply an understanding of the feminist uncanny to the domestic sphere within visual art, due to its ability to make the site of the home feel strange. My work draws from this feminist reinterpretation of the uncanny due to my interest in visualizing family dynamics within the domestic sphere. I am particularly interested in revealing subtle, but destructive, gender roles and emotional labor within the home. In my paintings the uncanny exists in spaces that oscillate between a familiar and unfamiliar domestic environment, tapping into psychological unease through a return of repressed familial memory. Saturated colors cast familiar interior scenes in an unnatural light, allowing a sense of disquiet to seep into the paintings. Different levels of articulation and abstraction mimic the distortion of memory associated with traumatic experience.

 1 Racz, Imogen. Art and the Home : Comfort, Alienation and the Everyday. First edition. London, England: I.B. Tauris, 85.

Gone Home