Micaela Amato explores the depth, history and tension of the past, both her specific family origins and the broader origins of human culture in her series of cast leaded glass busts and figures. Her style is one that evokes the historical romance of ancient cultures including Greece and Egypt, along with the cultures of Mesopotamia’s Fertile Crescent and the Near East. Amato derives inspiration from the weight of history, but adds to her sculptures specific links with her own life. She is particularly interested in natural healing and the curative properties of herbs and other natural medicines. Her father operated a botanic in New York City in which he sold medicinal herbs and religious artifacts. From a young age, Amato developed a respect for patterns of living and healing that connected her to her Spanish, Jewish heritage. Her ancestors were expelled from Spain in 1492 and scattered over the Mediterranean basin where they maintained their particular Sephardic customs.
In her artwork, Amato pays deference to her family’s past while incorporating elements of her own experience, notably her struggle with leukemia. Many of her sculptural figures are adorned with rounded or spiral protuberances reminiscent of healing poultices applied to wounds. This focus on healing is important to Amato, as she refers to it specifically in her pieces and in doing so comments more broadly on the healing power of art. For Amato, her art connects her family’s past with her present and serves as a cathartic and healing reminder of the common cultural links shared by humanity.