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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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Artist Links:
website
 

  • Transliteration
    2011
    shingles, dust, thread, nails, gold leaf, found frames, drawing from deCordova collection   13'x45'
    I created an installation based on two drawings from the permanent collection at the deCordova museum. The drawings I chose were plans for an outdoor sculpture. I took the materials, dimensions, and c

  • Transliteration
    2011
    shingles, dust, thread, nails, gold leaf, found frames, drawing from deCordova collection   13'x45'
    I created an installation based on two drawings from the permanent collection at the deCordova museum. The drawings I chose were plans for an outdoor sculpture. I took the materials, dimensions, and c

  • Transliteration
    2011
    shingles, dust, thread, nails, gold leaf, found frames, drawing from deCordova collection   13'x45'
    I created an installation based on two drawings from the permanent collection at the deCordova museum. The drawings I chose were plans for an outdoor sculpture. I took the materials, dimensions, and c

  • Transliteration
    2011
    architectural drawing (by Michael Timpson), dust, thread, nails, molding, gold leaf   variable (detail)
    I created an installation based on two drawings from the permanent collection at the deCordova museum. The drawings I chose were plans for an outdoor sculpture. I took the materials, dimensions, and c

  • Divisibility
    2010
    detritus, double sided adhesive, paint, tape, thread, nails   variable
    I was working with the architecture of a Philip Johnson building, and using the various grids as a starting point for the work. The grey paint on the wall carries inside the pattern on the outside of

  • Divisibility
    2010
    detritus, double sided adhesive, paint, tape, thread, nails   variable
    I found this frame in the storeroom of the gallery, and separated it to show the pattern created on the paper by the acid of the wood.

  • Divisibility
    2010
    detritus, double sided adhesive, paint, tape, thread, nails   variable
    detail of previous image

  • Untitled
    2010
    detritus, double sided adhesive, mop water, gold leaf, found frames, mirrors   variable
    I created a striped pattern on the wall using mop water, and created patterns that weaved in and out of frames, onto pedestals, and onto the floor.

  • Untitled
    2010
    gold leaf, mirror, mop water   variable
    This image shows a mirror with gold leaf patterns, which reflected onto the wall

  • Housing Project
    2009
    detritus and double sided adhesive, cut paper, colored cellophane, duct tape, found objects   variable
    This project was created in a soon-to-be-demolished apartment building in Delft, the Netherlands. I tore down the wallpaper, cut it, and readhered it to the wall. I also made a fake stained glass wind

  • Housing Project
    2009
    detritus and double sided adhesive, cut paper, colored cellophane, duct tape, found objects   variable
    detail of installation

  • Housing Project
    2009
    broken crockery, found pot, dirt   8" tall
    houseplant made of found objects

  • Untitled
    2009
    detritus on double sided adhesive   variable
    Material was gathered on site, and the pattern travels around the room and mimics some of the shapes found in the space.

  • Untitled
    2009
    detritus on double sided adhesive   variable
    detail of installation, showing patterning at the top of a very high wall

  • Untitled
    2009
    detritus on double sided adhesive   variable
    detail of pattern

  • exhaustive to incomplete
    2010
    mixed media   56"x28"
    I was invited to reinterpret the collection at the Natural History Museum in Providence, RI. I asked friends, family, and museum visitors to donate objects from their daily lives, and created new syst

  • exhaustive to incomplete
    2010
    mixed media   variable
    Detail of above image, showing vials of asbestos, sand, artificial chemicals (all from the museum) and sawdust, toenails, chamomile, and paint chips (solicited donation)

  • exhaustive to incomplete
    2010
    mixed media   variable
    Detail of above image, showing butterflies and mosaics (museum collection) and studio detritus (solicited donation)

  • exhaustive to incomplete
    2010
    disassociated labels, insect pins   40"x54"
    I chose to work with a box of disassociated labels, which are labels that have become separated from their objects. The labels became specimens in their own right, able to be separated according to ha

  • exhaustive to incomplete
    2010
    disassociated labels, insect pins   variable
    detail of previous image
 








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