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body of work

ARTIST

ALISON VAN

PELT

By Claudia Taylor photos of Alison Van Pelt by Philippe Bialobos

What’s most fascinating about Alison Van Pelt’s body of work is understanding how arduous her process is, and yet how easily the work seems to convey her intent. Van Pelt works feverishly; first defining, drawing on the canvas, then obscuring her images with layers of paint- ultimately revealing the ghost soul of her subject. In a way, the effect is like she’s speaking two languages at once- one to your head, and the other to your own soul. In her work, there is a photographic quality to the found images, which are often portraits of famous artists, writers, political and spiritual leaders, Native Americans, or animals still and in motion, or pop-culture icons, and torsos. It’s as if the viewer is looking through lenses covered with Vaseline, the image is vague, and yet beckons. For a woman so young to have had such a lauded career, museum collections, in numerous notable private collections including Princess Diana, Bill Clinton and Malibu’s Frederick Weisman, proves her ambition is born of total passion and cobra-like focus on her art form. We caught up with Alison in her immaculate, tiny, hyper organized studio at the base of Santa Monica Canyon. She was in the beginning stages of preparing a large commissioned piece for Laurie David - branching into a completely different subject matter- literally a deep forest, but one that will allow light to shine through the trees. Once she steps into the painting process, she won’t emerge for days. She virtually disappears, and emerges again after the cathartic conclusion...when she can step back, adjust her focus and stand by the open door of our shared perception.

Artist Alison Van Pelt, right, Pink & Orange Frida, 2003, left.

Profile for Malibu90265magazine

ISSUE 8 - BODY OF WORK  

Issue 8 Celebrate those who choose to leave us a legacy. Celebrated artist Alison Van Pelt graces the cover, C.O.O. of Land Rover Gerry Mc G...

ISSUE 8 - BODY OF WORK  

Issue 8 Celebrate those who choose to leave us a legacy. Celebrated artist Alison Van Pelt graces the cover, C.O.O. of Land Rover Gerry Mc G...