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Allison Gildersleeve, “Static Electric”

Umeå, 27.10–30.11  2012

New York-based artist Allison Gildersleeve made her Sweden debut in 2009, with exhibitions at Galleri Andersson/Sandström both in Umeå and Stockholm. Now, she is back in Umeå with a solo exhibition entitled Static Electric. Here, Gildersleeve continues to unravel the theme that permeates her ​​work, namely the web of memories, images and places from the 200 year old farmhouse where she grew up.

The groves, glades and woodlands of Allison Gildersleeve are painted with a vibrant intensity. And if her expression previously contained a certain mystery, it is now more distinct, characterized by a richness of color that permeates every fiber of the canvas. Gildersleeve’s artistic courage is revealed by the physical qualities of her paintings. She paints in acrylic and oil on canvas, with a certain location in mind. Layer upon layer of color is applied, based on the drawings and photographs she collects. Different elements from her picture archive are piled on top of each other, like film stills pulled from multiple narratives. She paints until a flickering sensation appears; the work is done when it creates an experience of animation in each picture.

For Gildersleeve, these forgotten and neglected landscapes are charged with all human activity that once unfolded there: places where someone once rested their eyes in thought, where children once played, and a landscape which someone thoughtlessly drove through. Each place carries the memory of all human life that has taken place there. In her painting Gildersleeve is aiming for these stories to unfold in front of her, she says:

“These paintings are experiential landscapes, ones to be felt as well as seen. I paint these environments as they present themselves to me, not as unpopulated woodlands but as dynamic, ever changing places thick with anticipation, dread, happiness, calm. While the crux of this work is the notion that over time the presence of human emotion and activity animate a place, human figures are deliberately absent. There is no person or other identity to prevent the viewer from occupying that space with his or her own histories and projections.

No place is permanent, no setting fixed. Environments, like us, take on the emotional detritus of all the people that pass through them, and that emotional accumulation is in constant flux: humming, buzzing, vibrating, compressing and expanding the time perceived–making the static electric.“

Allison Gildersleeve is an American painter, born in 1970. She lives and works in Brooklyn. Gildersleeve received her M.F.A. 2004 at Bard College in New York, after previous studies at Parsons School of Design in Paris, among others. She has had several solo exhibitions in the US and has participated in group exhibitions both in the US and Korea. Throughout the years she has received several grants and distinctions for her work. A catalogue has been published on the occasion of this exhibition.