Biography: Gisele Amantea was born in Calgary, Alberta and grew up in an Italian Catholic family. Her career began working in ceramics, but in later years she began working with a variety of materials — most found in everyday life — to create larger installations. She has also worked in photography, video and fibres. Her work often deals with the lives of women, the domestic sphere and femininity where her feminist practice explores what people value as well as social and cultural norms. She finds inspiration in the knick-knacks and memorabilia that people hold onto and often invest with great levels of personal meaning. One such project, her “Untitled (Poodle)” is a seven-foot tall poodle, constructed from cast aluminum but made to look like high gloss ceramic. It sits atop a twenty-six foot high pole. In 2012, it was installed on Main Street in Vancouver as part of a public art project entitled Momento, in a neighbourhood that is home to several antique and second-hand shops.
Amantea holds a BFA from the University of Calgary (1975) and an MFA from the University of Washington in Tacoma, Washington (1979). She has taught at the University of Calgary, the University of Regina and Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. This Montreal artist lives part-time in the Gulf Islands in British Columbia and teaches in the Department of Studio Art at Montreal’s Concordia University. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the US, and Europe as well as in India, and is held in several public collections in Canada.