Recommended Bushwick Open Studio: Allie Pisarro-Grant

by Paddy Johnson and Whitney Kimball on May 30, 2012 · 1 comment AFC Goes To Bushwick

Allie Pisarro-Grant (Studio View #1)

NAME: Allie Pisarro-Grant
MEDIUM: Mixed media
STUDIO LOCATION: 1100 Broadway, Brooklyn on the border of Bushwick and Bed Stuy
BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIO HOURS: Friday June 1st, 2012, 7-9pm, Saturday June 2nd, 2012, 12pm-6pm, Sunday June 3rd, 2012, 12pm-6pm
SHARED STUDIO: Yes, nine artists.

[Editor’s note: Over the next three days we’ll be recommending artist studios we think readers should visit during Bushwick Open Studios this weekend, providing interviews with selected artists and compiling it into handy AFC maps you all can use to get around. We know the size of this event can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully, our work will make navigating the Bushwick terrain a little easier.]

Allie completed her BFA in 2009 at RISD and moved to Bushwick almost immediately upon graduation. Her work takes many forms; in one series she paints within a triangle shape on mylar, exploring different modes of painting, in another, she uses cold water dye with acrylic polymer on canvas create a raw, sharp-and-blurred effect. The color sensibility and the simplicity of the action is both beautiful and unassuming.

A lot of your work seems informed by the frame of your surface, be it paper, acetate, canvas, etc. Even Postcard, a photograph of a postcard stand, the stand itself is framed by the column behind it. That seems to have changed recently based on the images you sent me. Does that interest still exist?

Yes, an interest in calling attention to the frame will always be important to me. I think addressing the ground, which really is the first decision you’ve made in the work, is important not only because it asks the viewer to see the work ‘outside of itself’ – as an object rather than just an image – but also as an allusion to the importance of the idea of the frame as a way of seeing – the fact that everyone has a subjective experience of the world.

The work that I made recently, is a bit outside my usual approach. I’ve been thinking more about artists whose work is important to me and wanted to investigate that through painting. Some of these relate more to other artists work rather then fully representing my personal vision, goals, or aesthetic. For example, there’s one painting which was made by pressing a plastic dropcloth with pigment dust from previous work into the wet surface of a painting. The dropcloth was wrinkled and leaves a fold-like image on the canvas, which I then pulled with a brush to create a block of color that sits above the fold-image. That painting is really an ode to one of my favorite painters, Tauba Auerbach. After visiting her studio a few years ago I’ve really come to respect her work and I would think her influence is probably pretty visible in mine.

Another example of recent work that illustrates the influence of an artist I respect, is a large painting with a surface built up out of dye pigment, dry pastels, charcoal, and polymer acrylic medium. The painting started as an ode to Ed Ruscha, a painter who I have an emotional, nostalgic relationship to because he represents my hometown, LA, in his imagery, though I know from his writings that he didn’t like to think about his work in that way. To be totally honest, I’m still not sure this painting is finished yet.

Would you tell us a little bit about how you arrive at those titles? Do you feel they’re integral to understanding the work?

It’s funny that you ask because I was just thinking that perhaps the painting I was just talking about will be finished when I name it; nothing else needs to happen to it, I just need to spend some time considering it, looking at it, and finding a title. I tend to make the work before I have a full understanding of where it comes from or what it represents or is trying to communicate, and so I usually have this, like, debrief, or post-analysis which concludes in choosing a title for the work. There’s no formula for naming the work; it relates to each piece individually.

Allie Pisarro-Grant, "Postcards", 2010, photographs taken at LAX 1999-2000, bleach, 5x3 inches each, 100 individual pieces

What music do you listen to in the studio?

Well, silence is rare in a studio shared by 10 people, so you kinda have to create your own soundscape that’s conducive to making your work. Music is really important to me and I listen to it loudly and pretty much constantly unless I’m streaming Al Jazeera Live. Also, there’s a climax that can be reached in which the aural environment of the studio gets so complex that it transforms into white noise, and that’s usually when I can get some thinking done. I’ve been jamming out to Grimes, Visions, Paul and Linda McCartney, RAM and Tennis, Young & Old lately.

[Art Fag City Bushwick Open Studios coverage is generously supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council and reader donations.] 

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