“I think that a painting should be able to be looked at for a lifetime, and one should be able to see something new in it every day.”
During a career spanning more than 30 years, Alison Weld remained faithful to the heroes who greatly influenced her work: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Clyfford Still. She was faithful to the mystique, the emotion and romance of their abstract expressionism.
Our painting is created as part of the “Striations” (“stripes”) – series, which she began in the mid-1980s and continued until 1990. The paintings are based on geological time. In geology, these “stripes” or linear grooves formed by the movement on a fault line.
“I worked at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan as a laboratory assistant in the department of vertebrate palaeontology” Weld told in an interview in 2010. “I was making moulds and casts of fossils. It was so inspiring. I still find it inspiring. Though I am an abstract artist, the natural world informs my work.”
At that time, in the mid-1980s, she decided to move on from the very thick acrylic paint she was using to oil impasto, a cold medium. “It’s 50 per cent oil and 50 per cent. It is based on an Egyptian mummy recipe that she managed to find out,” says Weld. In her first “Striations” series she used a palette knife. Later she would use chopsticks. “The Japanese chopsticks are pointed. That gives a wonderful texture. The Chinese chopsticks are flat,” she explains.
Inward Weight IV
Our work, “Inward Weight IV”, was completed in 1987. In January 1988 it was exhibited at her first show at a gallery in Manhattan, New York E.L. Stark Gallery, where it was acquired by the present owner.
Art is my natural world
For Alison Weld creating artwork is an all-consuming passion. “I contemplate a lot during the process,” Weld said. “It takes me weeks or days of looking every day.” The careful contemplation of her artistic output, but also her tenacity as an artist has resulted in an artistic career spanning decades. It is a destiny which she has embraced and celebrated, and her commitment to her practice is on par with the healthiest of obsessions, the one that renews rather than depletes energy sources.
She wrote a series Ghost Letters, posthumous letters addressed to admired artists. In these letters, she discusses the influence they have had on her work. To Weld abstraction is a visual philosophy.
“I believe paintings should be passionate and visceral, yet clearly informed by a considered, visual intelligence. In each mark, each gestural working of the paint, I want a personal presence to be manifest, layers upon layers of paint creating a complex figure/ground relationship which draws the viewers in, engaging them in a process of seeking and discovery. Abutting this personal realm, surrounding it at times, is another world.”
“Art is my natural world. My own painting and the art that I embrace are part of my own being. I feel the rich impasto like the mud or sand between my toes, I walk through the image. I breathe in the colours. It fills my lungs and my veins, pulsing through my system. I enjoy painting. I believe that the surface of a painting symbolizes the vitality, the life with which our unique lives are built. I think the surface of a painting is like a movie of consciousness. I love colour.”
“My colours are my words. Seriously painting and being in contact with serious art for me is like a religious experience that cuts through all faiths, races and even nations. For me it’s an escape from triviality”.
Alison Weld received a Masters of Fine Art from the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited extensively within the United States including solo and group exhibitions at Robert Steele Gallery (New York), Jersey City Museum (New Jersey), Springfield Museum of Art (Ohio), Pacifico Fine Art (New York), the University of Memphis Art Museum (Tennessee), and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art. Weld’s artworks are part of many public collections including the Art Museum of the University of Memphis, New Mexico State University, Everson Museum of Art, Radford University Museum of Art, Kresge Art Museum (Michigan) and the New Jersey StateMuseum.
Alison Weld (1953)
Inward Weight IV, 1987
Acrylics on canvas, 168 x 108 cm
Provenance: E.L. Stark Gallery, New York 1988;
private collection, New York.
Price: € 4,500
Ms. Weld lives in Jersey City, NJ