Alison Owen

“At Cuchifritos, my project was inspired by the stalls and merchandise piles which surround the gallery, as well as the architectural features of Essex Street Market. I studied the formal qualities and spatial patterns of both the gallery and the surrounding area, and the aesthetic decisions and practical concerns of the vendors who create their own types of exhibits.”
My installations quietly invade the environment, altering it subtle yet significant ways. I begin by cleaning the space: sweeping, mopping the floors, taking inventory of the materials in the gallery storeroom and the leftovers from previous exhibitions. The dust, mop water, and gallery furniture become the material of my installations and objects. There is often a proliferating geometry that invades the space, morphing as it travels through. The pattern comes from something already existent in the space, or it is chosen as a way to unite various components in the room. My alterations appear to grow out of the space, and melt back into it.I have a desire to make beautiful things, and a competing desire to make things that are plain, exposed. In my installations, lush, decorative passages are made of dirt and trash. There is an offhand quality that balances the labor and attentiveness.

Each installation site holds the results of many people who have left their mark, intended or not. My installations and objects repurpose the things that have become invisible due to their commonness: the dust we sweep up, the scraps we throw away, the materials we rely upon but rarely see. By paying attention to these artifacts, I interact with everyone who has built the room, remodeled it, cleaned it, or lived in it, and hold all of these past actions in a fragile balance with my own.