Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Allison Gildersleeve

Allison Gildersleeve, Sticks and Stones, 2007, oil on canvas, 54 x 48 inches
Good art is very hard to come by these days. Young and well seasoned artists seem to find themselves caught up in a game of who's more daring and who's more "experimental." Dealing with new views and approaches to art making is not a bad thing, on the contrary it is what makes new art so fresh and exciting, but with so many options in materials, and lack of information on the use of such, works of art could many times have disastrous outcomes. So every now and then it's a very welcome feeling when good art by a young artist hangs on the walls of a Chelsea gallery. On a recent excursion through the gallery wonderland of New York I was very shocked and pleased to find the work of Allison Glidersleeve at Michael Steinberg Fine Art.
Allison Gildersleeve, North of Stonington, 2006; oil, enamel, glitter on canvas, 60 x 60 inches
Immediately I was enchanted by this young artist's bold use of lines and moving compositions. All paintings in the show spoke to me in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time. Each canvas was a playful pairing of abstraction and representation. When at times you think you know what the image is about suddenly elements withing the piece knocks you one step back and becomes a sea of vigorous non objective color compositions. Morphing forms found in the real world into abstract visions can be a tricky thing for an artist. Sometimes the end result is a cliche campy thing found hanging on the wall of a local dentist office. But Allison Gildersleeve seems to resolve that problem with sheer confidence and sensitivity.
Allison Gildersleeve, The Trees Were in Rows, 2006, oil on canvas, 64 x 64 inches
In the gallery's press release, Gildersleeve's work is an "exploration of the interaction of time, memory, and loss." Yes this could be true, many artists like to use these kinds of "tragic"ideas to give the work more meaning and edge. But what is found in Gildersleeve's paintings, at least for the author, is a celebration of suburban nature. An endless high level of energy expressed through loose applications of oil paint. Sticks, rocks, and other natural forms take shape as each painting reveals its hidden views. At no point did I see "loss," a very depressing term to use in the description of such moving work. Most paintings in the show were about exploring hard edges and angles which is why it was a pleasure to see It All Came Down among the group. This sensuous black painting exploits the thin runny abilities of oil paint. The stain qualities of the paint is a close connection to the Color Field Painters of the sixties. Artists like Helen Frankenthaler quickly come to mind, but artist Allison Gildersleeve has managed to breath more movement and live to her paintings.
Allison Gildersleeve, It All Came Down, 2007, oil on canvas, 54 x 58 inches
When logical progression through time and space is hijacked by
memory, there is a certain collapse of what was there, and out of this
disintegration, a third distinct place emerges as a physical presence. My
work pieces together this place, combining the familiar with the unfamiliar, the
past and the present. What results is a hedge inside a room, a table leg
in between branches, an armchair sitting inside a deserted pool. Space
is restructured by the emotions it houses and what might have been a linear
internal narrative becomes a topography of recollection, uncertainty, loss, and
Allison Gildersleeve

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i really love your work.