Anne Allen Artist Statement
Anne Allen’s works explore her ongoing interest in pattern, both natural and manmade. Her work draws from sources that include vines, scratches, hairnets, machine-made lace and doilies, wallpaper, dryer sheets and floral patterns. Another a body of work focuses on the traditional women’s head covering of her Catholic upbringing and contemporary interpretations of ancient diadems and gold heraldic jewelry of the Etruscans and Greeks. Her use of gold colored media (ink, Prismacolor) and silverpoint and goldpoint seek to elevate these subjects by association with precious metals.
Several bodies of work explore random patterning found in nature and on the body. Works include linear, golden drawings done with brush and ink on vellum, based on the tangled lines of vines; and a series of intimate drawings in watercolor, ink and colored pencil on watercolor paper or vellum, based on the network of scratches on the skin incurred during hikes in rugged country while geocaching. These “Bloody Scratch Drawings” take as their title the coordinates of the geocache site where the scratches were sustained. In these works, Allen is interested in abstracting the source material to reveal patterns and intricacies in drawings that are both a record of an adventure and a type of portrait.
Another newer series of drawings revisits childhood trips to visit family in Oklahoma, conjuring the severe weather, dust storms, tumbleweeds and shelter belts that populated them, all viewed from the back seat of the family car. Another series consists of intimate drawings in watercolor and colored pencil on paper, based on scratches on the skin incurred during hikes while geocaching. These “Bloody Scratch Drawings” are portrait fragments, and take as their title the coordinates of the geocache site where the scratches were sustained.
Allen frequently works with an overhead projector, manipulating, distorting and layering materials to achieve her desired formal vocabulary. She has utilized installation drawing as a component in several exhibitions including On Your Mark, Opus I, Cris Worley Fine Art, Dallas (May, 2014) and in Alchemy, part of the Cell Series at the Old Jail Art Center museum in Albany, TX in spring, 2011 working in a large scale directly on the wall and across intersecting planes.
The installation drawings, executed directly on the walls of the exhibition space, push these objects to an extraordinary scale, rendering them iconic and further emphasizing their complexity. Working very close to the surface of the wall or the paper, the making process becomes meditative as it allows for immersion in the details of the image. Drawing in this way operates much like abstraction, with results that move between the abstract and the representational. These wall drawings activate the space, and inject a sense of the temporal.
Allen’s reliance on basic drawing materials—silver point, gold point, gold ink, charcoal, graphite, colored pencil, watercolor and gouache—gives her work a minimalist beauty.