Monday, May 07, 2012

Allison Hunter


Untitled #7 (from the Blue Butterfly series), 2011, 30 x 30 in. color photograph

My art review repost at ModernHouston.net back in December 2011.

Houston Art Alliance's art on the wall may not bug you, but you will see a lot of insects. Allison Hunter is exhibiting her work of photography, video, and paintings in a show titled "Hanging by a Tread."

Allison Hunter's Blue Butterfly series is incredibly stunning, visually; but the work also hit me personally. Her work has taken me back to when my family used to raise monarchs. We would pick milkweed with little butterfly eggs attached to the leaves, then we would continue to feed the caterpillars until they began to form their chrysalis. If we were lucky, we got to watch the butterflies emerge, and then soon after we would release them into the wild.

The paintings of bees were made of thick strokes of oil paint. At first, I was surprised Hunter didn’t use the encaustic painting process. But I came to realize that maybe these painting were about the image and not about being self-referential. The use of wax would have been too direct a reference to the bees. Hunter seems to be more interested in the story and the beautiful images of the insects. You can meditate on a bee or two and not feel you're being winked at by the artist.

The video had a smathering of computer generated animation, footage of bees, an audio that seemed to come from several vintage documentaries, and sometimes you would hear a layer with audio of bird songs. The video had three parts: shots of a bee hive and bees around flowers, a computer animation of bees in space, and bees swarming in the sky. I thought each part could have been shown as stand alone video. Thematically, I think the shot of the yellowish white sky with bees buzzing in all directions worked the best with the rest of the show. The empty sky with a tree branch surrounded by bees mirrored the paintings and photography perfectly.

I think I am most impressed with Allison Hunter’s ability to skillfully create a good body of work across three different mediums. Although this weekend it will be closed for Christmas, you can still catch it this coming week, from the 27th to the 30th, see the show.

For more images of the show visit, ModernHouston.net.

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