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Alison Owen
Brooklyn, NY



ARTIST STATEMENT: My installations quietly invade the environment, altering it subtle yet significant ways. I use simple materials such as masking tape, thumbtacks, dirt, and thread. I begin by cleaning the space: sweeping, mopping the floors, taking inventory of the materials in the gallery storeroom and the leftovers from previous exhibitions. I then use the collected detritus, mop water, and assembled objects to highlight the overlooked spaces, paying attention to corners, edges, and the point where one material meets another. The compositions develop over the course of several days in response to the physical and emotional characteristics of the site and the objects in it. I create new wallpaper using dust and gold leaf. I delineate volumes of space with stretched thread or strips of molding, and add decorative elements using materials such as colored cellophane, duct tape, and broken crockery. There is often a proliferating geometry that invades the space, morphing as it travels through. The pattern comes from something already existent in the space, or it is chosen as a way to unite various components in the room. My alterations appear to grow out of the space, and melt back into it. I have a desire to make beautiful things, and a competing desire to make things that are plain, stripped down, and exposed. In my installations, lush passages of curlicues and arabesques are tempered by the fact that they are made of dirt and trash. Meticulously plotted thread grids are held in place by rough squares of masking tape. There is an offhand quality that balances the labor and attentiveness. Each installation site (whether a home, a studio, or a gallery) holds the results of many people who have left their mark, intended or not. My installations and objects repurpose the things that have become invisible due to their commonness: the dust we sweep up, the scraps we throw away, the materials we rely upon but rarely see. By paying attention to these artifacts, I interact with everyone who has built the room, remodeled it, cleaned it, or lived in it, and hold all of these past actions in a fragile balance with my own.
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