Saturday, April 2, 2011

Heard @ the Heard 2011: Marla Allison & Paintings Born of Two Worlds

"I paint and create for Laguna's history to be great and remembered.  I paint because I was passed down a gift from my grandfathers..." --Marla Allison

 Every once-in-a-while I meet an artist with whom I feel very connected.  When that happens, I usually go around telling people that that's my "favorite new artist."  It usually has to do with a combination of elements--obviously their talent, but also their spirit and willingness to be open and share information about their lives with me.

Visual artist, Marla Allison, who hails from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, is one of those people.  From the minute I met her for the first time at the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market's "Best of Show" gala in Phoenix, I was taken with her.  Her gentle voice and sincere interest in others is particularly alluring.  The following day, when I had the opportunity to see her work, I was even more excited to get to know her.

Marla Allison's story is a very unique one.  She has been participating in the Heard show for the last five years and has been represented by the Berlin Gallery, affiliated with the Heard Museum.  But, it was last year that she was approached by Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe about having her as one of their artists. It was all very casual, but has had anything but a casual effect on her work and career.  Afterall, Blue Rain is, dare I say, the Holy Grail of art galleries for a growing Native American artist. 

Both Laguna and Anglo, Allison walks in two worlds, like many of her artistic contemporaries.  Her influences are all around her and she makes ample use of them, whether it's interpreting in paint the work of Laguna master photographer Lee Marmon, depicting scenes from her Laguna homeland, or creating representational work that tells the story of the two worlds in which she lives.  

Marla spoke freely to me about her artistic influences and gives some clear ideas of what it is like to be an artist participating in the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market. Watch my interview with Marla Allison HERE:

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