Amy Cannestra is a contemporary artist that uses performance, digital media, sculpture, and drawing to explore the weight physical and mental trauma puts on the body and soul on a day-to-day basis. Cannestra received her BFA in Communication Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2006 and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015.

Since receiving her MFA she has been performing and exhibiting internationally, participating in events such as the 2016 TransArt Triennial in Germany, ChaShaMa pop-up at the One World Trade Center in New York City, the 2017 TRIO: Biennial in Rio de Janeiro, and, most notably, the 58th Venice Biennial in the Grenada Pavilion. ​ Alongside a thriving studio practice, Cannestra is one-third of SPOOKY BOOBS, a feminist collaboration that uses art, language, and design to visualize the trivialization of women’s experiences. Formed in 2014 by J. Myszka Lewis, Maggie Snyder, and Cannestra, SPOOKY BOOBS produces public performances and installations with the mission to halt the perpetuation of sexism in our culture.

Mediums: Video installation, performance, drawing

Favorite Artist Tool: The body

Go-to Local Inspiration: Visiting Tony Oursler’s MMPI (Self-Portrait in Yellow) at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Mentee Compliment: Meghan is an incredibly brave, strong, and confident artist. 

Fun Fact: I have a tattoo on my head.

Serious Fact: I am afraid of butterflies.

Artist Statement

The body is the subject and medium of my work. Videos and installations start by performing for the camera, stretching and wiggling until my limbs and movements feel alien. Guided by an idea but loose in execution, these recorded actions are moved to the editing phase where the screen transforms the body into an object that can be controlled and disfigured.

By combining performance and video-editing techniques, I am able to layer, multiply, loop, and distort body parts to investigate how the various bodies (physical, mental, and social) we present to the world work with and against one another. Moving the body through the lens, onto the screen, and intentionally objectifying it helps magnify the trauma it carries, and allows the layers of self to be pulled apart and put back together.