Anne Allen Laureate

March 12, 2010 – April 17, 2010 Project Space Gallery

Artist Statement

“My works explore my ongoing interest in patterns, everyday handicrafts, and the decorative arts. The work draws from sources that include hairnets, machine-made lace, doilies, wallpaper, dryer sheets, and floral patterns. I am interested in the way these commonplace, mass-produced items point to handmade, craft origins in their decorative histories, and in how the banal can be transformed into the beautiful Recently my work has also included drawings that investigate the traditional women’s head covering of my catholic upbringing and contemporary interpretations of ancient diadems and gold heraldic jewelry of the Etruscans and Greeks. I frequently work with an overhead projector, manipulating, distorting, and layering materials to achieve the desired formal vocabulary. For the doily drawings, I use paper doilies that have a crisp, disposable beauty. For the hairnet drawings, hairnets are either drawn from life or enlarged many times over, pulled into sculptural configurations, and rendered in obsessive, hypnotic detail. The enlarged scale applied to these objects provides an opportunity for abstraction and endows the objects with a presence beyond their utilitarian purpose. I first utilized installation drawing as a component of an exhibition with artist Elaine Taylor in 2005-06 at Gallery 414 in Fort Worth, which gave us both an opportunity to work on a large scale directly on the wall and across intersecting planes, utilizing the architecture of the space as a key component of the work. The installation drawings push the 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 for me like abstraction, though the result remains representational. When done in conjunction with exhibiting related works on paper, I felt it activated the space and injected a sense of the temporal. My reliance on basic drawing materials—charcoal, graphite, ink, Prisma color, and gouache — gives the work a simplicity, while the subtleties of a simultaneously minimalist and maximalist approach to image sets up a tension in the work.”