Friday, March 22, 2013

Eight Minutes with Painter Alison Price

Alison Price is one of several artists whose work was being celebrated February 21 in the current round of Phantom Galleries Superior called THAW. Her exhibition-theme is aptly titled Allusions and her use of color easily draws one in. A Minneapolis artist, she is currently studying in the arts program at University of Wisconsin-Superior.

EN: Your artist statement begins with a quote from Aristotle about art's aim to represent the inner things. I believe Kandinsky made similar comments 100 years ago. Who have been your biggest influences in this use of color?

Alison Price: Playing with color has always been an inextricable part of me. From sitting under a bubbled glass patio table, and watching the play of color and light, to taking Kleenex, and immediately after a rain, patting the tissue into the gutters along the street, and dripping food coloring onto the wet tissue, watching it bloom and merge into wonderful colors and patterns. Collecting these, I put them in the sun to dry on the sidewalk. I was perhaps 3 or 4 years old. I haven't changed!

As I got older, maybe 6-7, I remember critiquing corporate color choices thinking the orange and blue combination of Howard Johnson's was vaguely shabby, and the brown, orange and red tiles at Burger King generally unpleasant, and the red and turquoise of the ubiquitous K-mart logo not attractive. And on the opposite hand, I found the non-rainbow of Apple very happy, oh! and the NBC peacock? Loved!

I cannot remember a time when I didn't love and appreciate color. The influences are and have been everything around me, always.

EN: It seems like the Twin Cities art scene is really vibrant right now. What are the main drivers there?

AP: The Twin Cities have been fortunate to have very generous arts benefactors since the times of J.J. Hill, T.B. Walker and Tyrone Guthrie. With the contributions of these arts advocates in place, the fantastic Minnesota State Arts Board, the McKnight and Jerome Foundations, as well as numerous others, the Twin Cities is an incredible place to be an artist.

The areas blooming now are the Northeast Arts District in NE Minneapolis, and the Lowertown area of St. Paul. Just over a decade ago, both areas were run down, tired, and in desperate need of revitalization. Organizations such as ArtSpace, NEMAA, the supportive landlords, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have come to the rescue, combining these resources with the passions of artists and the organizations listed above have made NE Minneapolis and Lowertown hot "must see" destinations.

EN: What prompted you to create your Mosaic Soul series?

AP: Ah! Such a very personal question. The Mosaic Soul series refers to the tiny squares which make up my images. Each square represents a person and their energy. Whether they interact with me and my energy dictates the composition of the painting. Each square is a resonating, vibrant opportunity for a connection. Some connections happen, while others do not.

EN: Your "Allusions" series appears to be about color and nature. What's the story behind the title of this exhibit?

AP: Allusions (noun) 1. An expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

I felt as if this word summed up art, most specifically, abstract or non representational, art. What is the feeling a work inspires in the viewer? What connections and emotions are stimulated?

Each piece in the Allusions collection is about our connection to each other, our immediate environment and our place, essentially, in existence. Beginning with Mitochondrial and Hypothesis, this pair of paintings speak to our race's fascination with science, the question "Where do we come from?", and the answers we have discovered thus far and the new questions those answers have unearthed.

Guardian, Willow Weeps and Wisdom Shared tell the tale of Cold Water Spring, a 10,000 year old spring in Minneapolis which has been a sacred gathering place for humans for hundreds of years, and the site of gentle, caring cohabitation of the earliest settlers and the Native population. This series speaks to the fragility of our eco and social systems, and the importance of respect for culture and our planet.

Detail from larger piece from Allusions series.
Sending My Love, Joyful, and Buoyant are perhaps the most esoteric of the collection. The colorful bubbles represent our energy as we send it out to our loved ones and those needing emotional support. We begin as colorful tendrils which readily ball up, and travel where needed. Ah, a bit too "arty"? I liken this to those times when one thinks, out of the blue, of a dear friend, and says to oneself, "Yes! I must call them right away," and then, the phone rings... it is your friend. Energy, being 'pinged' across the universe. So many connections.

EdNote: To see Alison Price's exhibit space visit 1112 Tower Avenue. You can see more of Alison's work at her online gallery Alison Price Studios or her Facebook page Alison Price Art.

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