In response to COVID-19, Oakland-based artist Brett Amory has been making daily paintings about his "self in place." Turning his attention inward, these simply rendered, small-scale works communicate deeply about routine, home, and living. That might be why so many people are relating to it on Instagram and beyond.

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"My daily paintings, I started calling them 'self in place.' It wasn't even a conscious decision."

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While the mundane and quotidian have been consistent subjects in Amory's work, the artist said he would not have painted the objects in his recent series if he were not forced to stay inside. These daily artworks are a way for Amory to "cope with what is happening." Painting and posting are just new parts of the routine.

"My daily paintings, I started calling them "self in place." It wasn't even a conscious decision."

Follow Amory's practice on Instagram.

Brett Amory

Self in place

A day in the life

In a conversation with Amory on Sunday, April 19, 2020, we informally discussed each object within his morning routine. Click on the play button below each painting to hear brief, stream-of-consciousness reflections and anecdotes.

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00:00 / 00:14
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00:00 / 00:11

Like many of us, Amory's day-to-day has been altered by the shelter-in-place order, though he describes it as a “return to normal.” For the past two years, he has been commuting to Palo Alto and working out of an 800-square-foot studio as part of Stanford’s MFA in Art Practice program. He recently completed an immersive eight-room installation in his studio called Making Simple Sublime—a project that took a year and a half to create. Like the Self in Place series, this installation also explored the "artist/domestic space."

Now, he’s settled back into the pre-grad school routines and is painting in his live-work loft in East Oakland.

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