Allison Bianco, currently one of Pyramid’s Resident Artists, will be demonstrating Painterly Screenprinted Flats at the Book Arts Fair. She took a few moments out of her busy schedule to give me an interview.
GS: Can you tell me a little about your ideas/themes surrounding history and memory?
AB: During graduate school, I began to explore the theme of nostalgia, a phenomenon that has eluded me for many years. My initial interest stemmed from my longing for a past that was not my own (e.g. the 60s and 70s, which preceded my birthday in 1979). Over time, I became concerned with nostalgia and how its conception is used to foster a strange repositioning of memory. Svetlana Boym’s book The Future of Nostalgia was integral to my research. Through renaming and repackaging familiar symbols, such as city streets; consumer products; fashion and architecture, we can tend to “forget” the past and recall memories that are only partly true. This phenomenon happens naturally with time as well as through the growth and change of industry, economic systems, and natural disasters.
GS: Around the studio you’re a pretty funny gal. Does humor play a role in your work?
AB: Absolutely. The work I present often features impending storms that foreshadow certain destruction, which will in turn signal the beginning of nostalgic longing and the manufacturing of new memory. At the same time, my color palettes are often extremely bright, cheery and pleasant. It is the odd contradiction of uplifting moments and dark storminess that drives my work. The upheavals in the lives of the tiny, unwitting characters in my scenes are instantaneously placated with humor.
GS: If you were to stop making art, what would you replace it with?
AB: I suppose if I were forced to stop making art, I would use performance as a creative outlet. I love over-acting and plotting little tricks and schemes to keep myself occupied.
What are your plans after you complete your residency at Pyramid Atlantic? I will continue working on print projects. I am collaborating with Lara Henderson, Printshop Manager at AS220 in Providence, RI, on a book project. I also enjoy teaching and look forward to continuing to work with the print community at PA.