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Richmond, Virginia artist Allison Andrews softens her voice so that her work may speak for itself.

ZenGarden-indoors

I was first drawn to Allison Andrews’ sculpture installation Zen Garden, pictured above, due to the piece’s ironic profundity.  The juxtaposition of a Hummer frame with a Japanese Zen Garden speaks volumes about the globalization of cultures and the influence Eastern philosophy has on the West.  In short, I saw it as peaceful commentary, a quiet reflection of commoditization and spirituality, begging our own questions of meaning and purpose as we advance into the future.

After meeting Allison, I discovered that my interpretation was not far off from her own.  I also learned that, for her, the success of the piece was simply that it made me think.  While she has strong concepts which lead her in the beginning of a project, she feels strongly that ultimately, her responsibility is to the viewer.  When creating, the first thing cut away is her opinion, allowing the work to speak for itself, and leaving the viewer to interpret freely.

Through the use of iconic images, Allison is capable of creating juxtapositions which suggest meaning to the viewer, rather than spell it out.  Minimal amounts of information are best, considering that during the artistic process, she finds herself forced to go with the flow.  The artwork often takes off in its own direction, becoming something completely different from the original concept upon completion.  In her work, she must leave room open for the message to take its own shape, empowered by her choice of materials and her technical skill. 

Humbly, Allison told me, “I don’t know why I make the stuff I make.”  It is as if the art is using her as its means of manifestation.  “Anytime I force anything, it doesn’t work.  Anytime I cling to anything, it doesn’t work.”  For artist Allison Andrews, both her art and her life alike are a practice in discipline, service and letting go.

I encourage you as readers to take the time to look at the following works and ruminate on the meanings they have for you, or simply appreciate their success or failure in the case of stimulating your thought process.

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Above: Happy Birthday Mr. President

Hummer Pie

Above: Hummer Pie

Androgynous

Above: Androgynous

Suspension

Above: Suspension

[diane]

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