Lena Snow Amason-Berns

Lena Snow Amason-Berns

Lena Snow Amason grew up in the village of Port Lions, Alaska. Born to a family of artists, her parents Alvin Amason and Kathy Nelson encouraged her to create art from an early age. Amason draws upon imagery of sea life around Kodiak Island for much of her carvings, paintings and drawings. She recently participated in a group sculpture show at the Pratt Museum and also has held shows with her father. Her work is included in collections at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alutiiq Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North and the Anchorage Museum. Her work has also been included in an exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Amason currently lives in Old Harbor.

Artist Statement:

“I work to combine elements of historical design found in ancient Alutiiq objects, with symbols of modern village subsistence and commercial fishing culture. My carvings, paintings, and mixed media wall sculptures reflect the textures and patterns of the natural environment and lifestyle of my Alutiiq land and people.

I collect the raw materials for my pieces on beach walks, skiff rides, and from old fishing boats and gear sheds. I combine fluorescent strips of painted buoy, bright shades of plexi-glass and sea scraped marine grade plywood, with the smooth shiny black of baleen from beached whales, and the elegant lines of seal whiskers saved for me by local hunters.

Many years ago, during my commercial fishing days, I began to study the way the weather and waves alter work surfaces, and how seasons affect the shades of land water and sky. Today, these patterns are reflected in the painted and carved surfaces of my pieces. These are the textures I reference as I layer acrylic, draw into it with pencil, hit it with sandpaper, and then paint it again with oils.

Experiences of encounters with local animals, birds, and marine life resurface in the form and underlying narrative of my work. The subtle lines of a clam shell or the sleek form of a seal helmet, painted with boldly contrasting racing stripes of a salmon seiner and stenciled call numbers of a small airplane, are the markings and numbers that identify whose plane is flying or whose boat that is. They help to reflect the true colors and formlines of my lifetime’s heritage and represent the moments in life we want to remember.”