State of Denial
Kelly Alison
May 1 - 31, 2010

State of Denial
Proud as a Peacock

This collection owes a great deal to the “Naturalist’s Library” published in the 1840’s by Sir William Jardine, Bart and W.H. Allen and Co., in London. Pages from its more than thirty volumes are collaged onto all of the can-vases in this show. These collages are the backdrops for drawings tak-ing influence from the early annals of the physical sciences, when artwork and scientific study were closely linked. In particular, antique prints done by natural historians Maria Sibilla Merian, Karl Brodtmann, Seligmann/Edwards, Eleazer Albin and Francois Martinet. These prints became the source for this exhibits playful reanimation of natural history.

“The process of layering collage, drawing, and painting is the thread that connects everything I have done, not only in this show, but in all my work over the past five years. There is a back and forth between “hard work” and “in the moment” states of artistic creation that anchors and expands the work I do.”

There could be meaning in these paintings.

“I often try to tell a serious story in a whimsical way, looking for a character, a tool, a vehicle, to carry the plot. The vehicle in this series was influenced by the black face characters in the works of artist Michael Ray Charles . As black as those images are, I wanted this character to be white and vulner-able, invoking a notion of my own personal identity. I was also influenced by Laylah Ali, who inspired me to further develop this round eyed white face into an overly simplified figure or changing emblem, capable of eliciting a variety of emotional and empathetic responses.”

This character interacts with a variety of birds, setting up the possibility for meaning, whether it be ambiguous, as in “Fly away Home” or “All a Twitter” or more obvious, as in “Too Big to Fail” or “A Wing and a Prayer”.

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