Marilyn Allen

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Turning it inside out

17" x 23"

oil on paper on board

Artist's Statement

Because our visual experience is so complex, we edit out much of what we see in order to be able to function in ordinary activities. Working as an artist, however, I am able to experience the richness of seeing more deeply through drawing, color and the energetic push of paint on a surface. Over a year ago I began a new series of paintings that are both figurative and reality based. This work reflects my recent exploration of how to create movement of three dimensional forms on a two dimensional surface.

The work began on site near where I live at the base of Mt. Jolly in Southern Vermont. Although the view is spectacular, it is the open field and its trees that caught my attention. An enormous ash tree has been transformed by a blast of lightning so powerful that it blew two large limbs into the woods and set the inside of the tree on fire. The base and hollow interior of the tree gleam with shining blue-black carbon. The first thing I did was to take some of the charcoal to make drawings of the tree with itself.

From this discovery I moved toward several apple trees that stand twisted and strong on the hill.  One leans provocatively in the angle of a dancer with a large limb that crosses the trunk to go in its own direction. Another huge old tree has bent bent along the edge of the hill by the north wind, yet it still lives in a horizontal position. A sentry tree in the middle of the field sends its branches around and back, out into the air and then into the trunk making positive and negative spaces that create a scaffold of tree and sky, light and dark, earth and air.

It is in this landscape that I have found myself as a painter.