Alison Owen is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Poughkeepsie, NY. She creates vases that hover between two and three dimensions. Each vase is made from slab-rolled clay cut into shapes like a dressmaker’s pattern and pieced together to create forms that are gently dimensional yet invoke the pictorial plane. One or both sides might be decorated with a drawing, painting, or collage depicting relics, rainbows, figures, or flowers drawn in the tradition of the still lifes that so often represent vases themselves.
Though her forms appeal to the long history of excavated ceramics, the layers of embellishment fluidly move between categories. The final objects range from functional to ephemeral, some works solidly constructed and ready for everyday use, others mended or held in an armature, museum style.
Just as Alison's ceramics embrace the flat plane of the still lifes that they reference, her paintings often enter the third dimension, with objects resting on exposed stretchers or canvases cut, draped, and restitched. Other paintings derive from her collection of art history volumes, home decorating books, and magazines that she uses for collage. Fragments taken from ancient amphora sit next to the vases in a Matisse painting or are arranged on tables taken from a catalog from the 1980s. In the world of these works, the prized and the near-invisible live side by side.
All of these elements are included in installations where Alison uses mimicry and repetition to explore a space, its history, and its inhabitants. She traces shadows on the wall with a string, rearranges domestic objects, and presses clay into tiles to capture their patterns. In all of Alison's work, whether site-specific installation or functional ceramics, she draws attention to interior space, interior life, the life of objects, and the stories they hold.
Alison received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University, and has participated in numerous residencies, including Artists Alliance in the Lower East Side, The Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, Wave Hill in the Bronx, LMCC Process Space on Governors Island, The Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, and the AIM program at the Bronx Museum of Art. She was a fellow in the A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship Program in 2017. In 2020, she received a grant from the Belle Foundation. Owen has exhibited her artwork in galleries across the United States, including Smack Mellon and AIR gallery in Brooklyn, the DeCordova Museum in Massachusetts, The Museum of Natural History in Providence, and Staple Goods in New Orleans. Her ceramics are found in many shops in the US, Japan, and France.