One of the greatest pleasures for an art addict is to watch the progress of an artist as they grow and develop. I got that opportunity retrospectively when I visited the studio of Allison Renshaw and was allowed to paw through some of her past work. It was there I found the clues to her latest creations. I soon started to recognize the visual language she has developed including egg forms, water shapes and flesh tones but it was the collaged element developed from mail art to her friends, which stood out for me.
Compositionally these almost abstract works are quite formal. You see balance, movement and a layering of space we expect form the best of all 2-D work. But she managed to use the unique masking of the collaged work to create a mystery in the subject matter that is tremendously intriguing both visually and conceptually. Allison uses acrylic and lately air brushing to give us endless mini landscapes within the painting which helps us have the mandala-like experience of meditation. In other words you can get lost in the details. I am a sucker for art titles and many of Renshaw's works are named after lipstick shades. She passes the number one criteria I have for art. It is honest and reflective of who she is.
The only trouble I have is how to sum up the work. Is it where dumb and pretty get to live happily with intelligent and ugly? Or Is it where Intelligent and pretty get to live happily with dumb and ugly.
Allison Renshaw: Plastic Fantastic is showing her work at Oceanside Museum of Art, (704 Pier View Way , Oceanside , 92054). Gallery Walk and Talk with Renshaw, Thurs. Feb 25, 7 pm. Show until June 20.
She is also one of the artists in New Contemporary III, 2010 at Project X: Art: Greg Boudreau, Kelsey Brookes, Stephen Curry, Steve Gibson, Brian Goeltzenleuchter, Wendell M. Kling, Heather Gwen Martin, Robert Nelson, Julio Orozco, Allison Renshaw, Lesha Maria Rodriguez, James Soe Nyun, Stephen Tompkins
Opening Reception: Sat. April 24, 7 – 10 pm, Panel discussion Sat. May 15, 5:30 pm, Show from Sat., April 24 – Sat., May 22, 2010 (320 S. Cedros Ave. Ste. 500 , Solana Beach, 92075). For more info: Chris Martino 858.792.9685