Amber Droste, originally from Robinson, IL, lives and works in Chattanooga, TN. Amber had a very diverse arts education which has led to many different interests within the visual arts. She studied in Boston and Florence, Italy, where she focused on fresco and painting restoration. In 2001 she received her BFA from Pratt Institute in New York, with a major in Drawing and a minor in Art History. Her graduate degree was earned at Washington University in St. Louis with a focus in Painting.
Droste’s paintings are detailed, densely layered abstract works. Highly worked canvases create a narrative using repeated forms, lines and colors. She works from multiple perspectives and vanishing points, creating a tornado of visual incident – reminiscent of layers of graffiti . Hers are distinctly modern images with modern narratives, executed in the traditional materials of pencil and paint. The notion of craft is always present in her work, as is the search for beauty and order. She takes images of chaos and confusion and then withdraws from those visuals some semblance of beauty and a subdued sense of harmony and stability. Though her paintings contain an abundance of visual information, she tries to be mindful to retain some appearance of calm and quiet. She welcomes and embraces mistakes, purposely making the canvas ugly to try and make it beautiful again. For her, the practice of painting is a never ending battle to bring each piece back to an aesthetically comfortable place. Sometimes the paintings never make it back, but often the “ugly” pieces become palatable and beautiful because of the discord and disharmony, not despite it. This speaks to not only current societal issues, but also personal narratives dealt with inwardly. The acceptance of mistakes, baggage and physical and mental imperfections, is a theme often addressed throughout her work. Through her paintings, she shows that solutions and beauty can come from disharmony.
In addition to painting, Droste also works as a stained glass artisan, owning and operating her own glass studio, Soda Ash & Sand. Her stained glass work can be found in residential and liturgical spaces around the country. She also has several years of experience in teaching at various universities and institutes, where she served as an instructor in painting, drawing, and art history and theory.