(See this article with accompanying images by clicking on the link above and visiting The GAG.)
Thus every body placed in the light spreads out in circles and fills the surrounding space with infinite likenesses of itself and appears all in all in every part.
-Leonardo da Vinci
Allison Green: Green Through, and Through
-Written Danielle Hogan, and published by The GAG, June 25, 2016
What does it mean to say that we feel connected to nature? The question is itself somewhat redundant, for without nature “we” are nothing. Yet, so often we sleepwalk through our days, weeks, months, without truly reflecting on that crucial relationship. This is certainly not the case for New Brunswick artist Allison Green.
Green has an online exhibition this month at The Gynocratic Art Gallery, and she is the perfect artist for the gallery to be featuring in of June, just as the peonies are blooming and gardens are finally bursting with green in her home province of New Brunswick.
Allison Green who cares about nature. She thinks about it, our collective relationship to it, as well as reliance upon it, a lot. Through the various media of her studio practice –from textiles to stone- she relays a diversity of perspectives regarding the personal, and at times vulnerable, roots we share with the nature world. In part four of author Andreas Weber’s book The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and Metamorphosis, he states;
If feeling is a physical force and the expression of this feeling is a physical reality whose meaning motivates organisms to act, then we might understand living beings better if we imaging what is happening to the biosphere as, in a way, resembling artistic expression. This has another interesting consequence. Art then is no longer what separates humans from nature, but rather it is life’s voice fully in us. This message is that beauty has no function. It is rather the essence of reality. (p. 195)
“Beauty as the essence of reality”; what is beautiful is a subjective distinction. Yet reality as beautiful is something else all together. I would like to suggest that beauty is, additionally, slippery. It is like ink dissipating into a pool of water, or silk sliding off the skin. Allison Green graduated from the Fashion and Textile Design department at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in 2014. And, like American artist Ann Hamilton, is someone who often translated her ideas about Life and Nature though the visual language of textiles. Hamilton, for a project simply titled Cloth at the Philadelphia Fabric Workshop and Museum, wrote the following;
The vocabulary of textiles and its metaphors fill everyday language. This might include a passage describing the worn threads of a work jacket, the rub or reach of a sleeve’s cuff, the signal of a flag, the color of a red blanket, or the processes of stitching, spinning or weaving. We draw threads of connection and spin tales; a stitch is a unit of time, blue collar and white collar denote class, and a white cloth signals truce. (Retrieved June 25th 2016, from http://cloth-a-commonplace.tumblr.com/on-commonplacing)
When I first met Allison Green she was working on her project Silk Circuit; a series of extremely elaborate works painted onto stretched silk. The source imagery – computer circuitry boards- is perhaps surprising from her, yet under Green’s brush the lines of circuity metamorphose. They read instead as elaborate topographical maps, or even layers of decomposing soil-matter. Her imagery causing one to consider more deeply, our human relationship to technology and the origins from where that all begins.. Green’s work in the collection Topology is also truly something. Blending her love of the environment with her talents for fashion and textiles, she created a reversible-vest which is one side simply ocean blue, and the other is an aerial view of the landscape complete with irregularly-square plots of visible agricultural land. Her imagery lifts us up and simultaneously grounds her viewers, bringing our thoughts back down to earth by concurrently referencing the rich visual aesthetics of quilting. Not one to stop at the vest alone, Green designed a cloth necklace, tie, and wrist bands to compliment the vest piece. The set is honestly, beautiful by nature!
Green is, I believe, here at her best working three dimensionally. Not long out of school, she has already worked on a number of significant public sculpture pieces too. In 2012 she worked as a sculpture intern, assisting international granite sculptors with carving, installation, maintenance of their work as part of Sculpture Saint John Symposium; in 2013 she assisted artist Stephen Cruise with the installation of his work Memoria Address at The Fredericton Convention Centre, in New Brunswick. Then, in 2014 she was sculptor in residence for two different projects, first Tributary a granite sculpture permanently installed at Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews and, secondly that year, Sculptor in Residence in the Culture Garden at The Charlotte Street Arts Centre, Fredericton, NB. Grass may growaround much of her artistic output – but certainly not under her feet.
Over the month of June, Green is offering visitors to The GAG a peak behind thegreen curtain (with loving apologies to The Wizard Oz). The GAG has been posting regular updates from Green’s studio; photos of her progress with CONNECTOME. In early June she expalined;
“This project will explore a variety of textile-infused techniques. I have been evolving a silk quilt process which makes use of hand-painted and digitally printed cloth. The ripple concept also lends itself to scaled-up tapestry, woven using large tubes of printed photograph. Several of these works will have a person-shaped hole or reflective surface at the center, enticing the viewer to become immersed in the rippled connectome. Every aspect of this project is built to amplify our sense of connection to the world outside.”
Mid month she updated some images further elaborating that, “This project is built to amplify our sense of connection to the world outside.” Addressing the life-size piece that she is currently working on with silk and dyes, via email Green told us a bit more about CONNECTOME and it seems that this piece has as much to do with memory, as it does with nature and light. “I think of this one [the sketch depicting something like rays of energy rippling out from a human form at the center pictured above this essay] as my grandfather, whether or not that is relevant I don’t know yet. I think it will incorporate imagery from the village in NFLD where he grew up.”
There is more to come this month at The Gynocratic Art Gallery, and certainly many more insightful works to come from this exciting New Brunswick based, multidisciplinary artist. Keep an eye out for her work, gardens or galleries!