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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


Ambera Wellmann
The Third Thing, 2020

Oil on linen
23 1/4 x 19 3/4 x 7/8 in.
Museum Purchase with funds provided by Robert Blumenthal
Image credit
Image courtesy of the artist & Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin Photo: Ramiro Chaves
Ambera Wellmann The Third Thing, 2020 Oil on linen, 23 1/4 x 19 3/4 in. Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami Museum purchase with funds provided by Robert Blumenthal

Ambera Wellmann’s paintings develop from the artist’s engagement with the Western art-

historical canon, especially through Surrealism and Romanticism. Straddling abstraction and

figuration, her work revises the heteronormative male gaze on the female figure from a feminist

and queered perspective. Seeking to dismantle the inherent power dynamics of this canon,

Wellmann’s paintings are “a search to pictorially structure female desire,” she says, which she

researches through found images from the present, social media, and her own photographic


The Third Thing (2020) depicts two amorphous pale-pink bodies in a bathroom; one stands in a

bathtub while the other seems to roll on the floor. The blurry and contorted bodies intermingle or

dissolve in a perpetual state of becoming as they appear almost liquid and luminescent. The

intimacy suggested by the bathroom creates a voyeuristic scene, yet it remains unclear and open

to interpretation how the two amorphous bodies, both feverish and sensual, relate to each other.

The artist says of her works: “A painting should end with a question; it helps lead you to the next


Ambera Wellmann (b. 1982, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia) lives and works in Mexico City and New

York. Wellmann is a graduate of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Canada, and

received her master’s of fine arts degree from the University of Guelph, Canada. Her work has

been shown at the New Museum Triennial (2021); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2020);

Drawing Center, New York (2020); Istanbul Biennial (2019); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw

(2019); Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2019); Museum MARTa Herford, Düsseldorf (2019);

Centro Cultural Casa Baltazar, Veracruz, Mexico (2016); and Museum of Contemporary Art

Toronto (2011); among others.