ALISON COOLEY was born in Washington, DC and studied at Sarah Lawrence College and the Corcoran School of the Arts + Design. She has been represented for over a dozen years by galleries in the United States and Canada. Her work is included in over a hundred private and corporate collections. Her work was recently featured in the Free People Artist Issue, Domino Magazine, DC Modern Luxury, Goop, Apartment Therapy, One Kings Lane, and in numerous blogs, magazines,and publications.
ABOUT THE WORK Growing up in Washington, with its specifically swampy climate,
I was always attuned to atmospheres and changing weather patterns.
It’s basically what I paint. Most recently I’ve taken this ambient abstraction
into a much more intimate zone – an exploration of daily, mostly anonymous, interactions. So often we are thrown into surprising intimacy with strangers and the encounter is visceral. The scent of a wet coat, the recognition of a song leaking from ear buds, the unexpected look at a shaving cut can momentarily engage us in a stranger’s world. A passerby may stun us with an unexpected phrase, captivate us with whimsical makeup, or bury us deep in shadow like a thunderhead. The throwaway exchanges between people navigating a city – invasive and vulnerable, connected yet disconnected – build intricate, fleeting microclimates. My work acts as a collective portraiture, capturing the shifting fronts and clouds of humans moving through and around each other, leaving elements in their wake.
My paintings have a heightened palette pulled from the pigments of the natural world via waxy, glossy, and incandescent colors.
I build the fragile depth by playing with juxtapositions — flesh tones and neon, stark twisting lines with creamy, shimmering color fields, transparent ink bubbles and chalky graphite scratchings. Lines, etchings and blooms of color express the range of ways we present ourselves to the world. I love the graphic potential of using graffiti mops and calligraphy pens alongside traditional watercolor, colored pencil, and oil paint, in many cases layering them over each other. My paintings articulate the fugitive nature of human encounters in our increasingly anonymous world by creating a brittle harmony between color, line, and wash.