San Diego Inaugural
Curated by Chuck Thomas
January 28 - March 25
Allison Renshaw lives and works in Encinitas, California. She was born and raised in Orange County and received a BA degree in economics from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She received an MFA degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has been exhibited extensively across the country. Notable exhibitions have been the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Oceanside Museum of Art, Landcaster Museum of Art and History, Quint Gallery, and Mirus Gallery.
Allison has been an associate faculty member at MiraCosta College and LUX Art Institute. She was a visiting professor at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada.
Renshaw’s work offers multiple perspectives, discordant vocabularies, and malleable boundaries. Her art is informed by particles of our urban and natural landscape along with culture found in the everyday. She is interested in how different “histories” of painting can co-exist in a single image. This chaotic quality doesn’t always make sense, but it becomes an apt visualization for todays open source culture of sampling and recycling.
Sabrina Piersol (b. 1995) is an abstract painter and printmaker based in Southern California and Colorado’s Western Slope. The artist’s landscape-informed paintings collapse inner and outer vision onto the canvas. Looking to both the environment around her and imagined terrain, she crafts lavishly sensuous works of vibrant color, vertiginous perspective, and undeniable energy. Piersol's paintings are steeped in nature’s resilience, the influence of Sapphic poetry, and the value of the fragment. The artist believes in painting as a viable means of conjecture and so creates speculative environments that reflect on the past, present, and future. Piersol intends for her paintings to be accessible in their abstraction through combining explicit allusions to the natural world with purely abstract forms and suggestions in a singular, cohesive visual language.
Growing up in the shadows of whiteness, colonization, and assimilation, I realized I don’t know much about my material familial histories. The work I am producing is coming from the desire to know more. My studio practice has become the act of wanting to discover, engaging in a creative-fictional mode that builds the bridge to my Filipino ancestry. In asking myself what my intentions are, asking my mother for information, and dreaming of what her hometown is like, it becomes more about the information and potentials. Given my material family growing up in poverty, our motherland being colonized many times over, and various familial migrations, there is no familial archive I can turn to and all I know is what my mother is willing to share. I’ve begun using fiction to gesture towards desires I have- my desire to see and know my ancestral islands, my desire to honor ancestors who may or may not have existed, my desire as a commitment or force to simply know.
My current body of work addresses how fiction, abstraction, and alchemy work together to manifest missing links of an untold familial history as it relates to my queer, trans personal history. Through ceramics, I found my forms becoming volcanic, cavernous, and mountainous with glazes melting, oozing, and cascading off my objects. Much of my work emulates the landscapes, flora, and fauna of various ancestral archipelagos, such as the Philippines, Hawaii and the Scottish Orkney Islands. While my work has been a continuous experiment in form, color, and alchemy, it became a place for me to contemplate my Asian heritage and the disconnect I had felt from it. The work serves as both a means to dream up endless possibilities, and an offering to honor ancestors across different temporalitie.
There is a certain uncertainty in my studio work. Giant knitted installations can completely unravel from one broken spot. Language made concrete in textiles ask questions that hold no concrete answers. Sharp heavy metal objects are held in silk chiffon with tiny stitches of thread, awaiting eventual rupture. Cement works degrade, rust, fade and crumble. I use common materials and techniques embedded with histories, beauty and absurdity to find entrance to larger, harder conversations about our connected humanity, invisible labor, and environmental destruction.
The community projects I am involved in are totally different. They are centered around exchange; of labor, stories, time and ideas. They are designed to flatten hierarchies embedded in institutions and to embracing the gentle rhythms of making together. Often playful and absurd, these projects affirm gathering as a location of substantial change.
In Pretty Me, I’ve shown myself in considered opinion of Da Vinci’s drawings of his Grotesque and Divine images. He played with this idea for a good portion of his life. The geometric rectangle in the center of my painting isolates the focus of the eyes as the beholder. The ‘Beauty’ image, being indifferent to my gaze is looking away from my profile to make direct eye contact with the viewer. Grotesque is looking towards my second profile in stern conviction
Southern California is home to a luminous visual field, a vast and expansive landscape defined by its oceans, deserts and mountain skies. Between the margins of these geographic landmarks lies the most subtle and distinct feature, the interaction of light, moisture, air and space. As a painter I aim to capture the visual sensation of this environment in a collection of paintings that exist somewhere between representation and abstraction. Painting provides a powerful tool to examine the light and study the transitions and translucent effects. Painting allows me to be an inventor of an imaginary landscape within each piece.
My multi-media abstract paintings are blueprints: a visual reference for the structure of the human experience. This structure is divided into three rooms: the body, sensory experience, and thoughts and feelings. I create the blueprint for these rooms using the principles of embodiment, awareness, and the tension of yin and yang.
My work is intrinsically autobiographical and focuses on the benefits of embodiment within the process of creating. It is a timeline of the personal history and evidence of being present; a photo emulsion of felt experience.
If one can sit still long enough, the body will speak. My work is about showing up and listening long enough to respond, pause, wonder, change, and rest in discovery. This sensory experience is a human struggle rooted in the complex, variable relationships we all share with our bodies.