Alison Owen



Through a process of research that involves observing the environment over a matter of days or weeks, I note the social, architectural, and natural elements that comprise the heart of a space, the heart of an experience. From this initial survey I create installations and objects with a variety of found materials. I use string and tape to trace shadows across the wall, or mimic the forms of windows with snap chalk. I fill shelves, pedestals, and vitrines with found materials, looking for visual resonance and meaning between overlapped or adjacent objects.

Much of what I work with is found on site, gathered during the process of cleaning and exploring an exhibition space. I gather up the fragments and discards of other artists’ practices (often artists who are working with me on residencies or in adjacent studios), recombining them and giving them new life. I’m interested in bringing the periphery to the center- in taking all of the paper scraps, paint rags, to-do lists, source material from the studio spaces and putting it into the gallery, to show a different take on studio practice and artmaking.

In this way my practice is something of a collaboration, as I allow the marks and acts of another artist to influence my own composition. I’m seeking the poetic possibilities in fragments and cast-offs. There is accidental poetry in the underlined phrases of borrowed books, hints of another person’s sensibility in their detritus. There is a thrifty and ad-hoc quality to my process, but my marks are intentional, quiet responses to the existing materials.

A lot of my practice is based in community connections- I run 30 day art challenges, make site specific installations in people’s homes, send out postcards with text from books that have been recommended to me (sort of a long-distance book club), use materials that I collect from other artists. I am always looking for ways that my own experiences resonate and overlap with that of other people. I would like my art making to be inclusive, to gather in practicing artists and hobbyists, friends, relatives, colleagues, strangers. I ask questions, solicit advice – recommendations, playlists, booklists – in the hopes of allowing the experience of others to accompany me as I make my way through the world.