Alison Haselbeck

Graduate Fellowships, 2017 - 2018
Mills College

Artist Statement

My work begins with the patient precision and contemplation of a naturalist, re-engaging the intertwined histories of art and biology. Working in illustration, painting, sculpture, and animation I approach nature with a sense of wonder and reverence, while not shying away from evoking its hostile and unforgiving aspects. The animals I depict exist alongside human beings as beasts of burden, or occupy the dwindling space between nature and civilization. I commit to aspects of realism at first, delicately rendering fur and musculature, then destroying that controlled imagery by incorporating a series of erosive and additive processes. These actions of control and relinquishment result in a compression of imagery into an ecosystem where growth and decay happen simultaneously, and animals merge into impossible amalgamated organisms. I use my various methods of depicting hybridized nature to comment on the problematic relationship between humans and the natural world.

While at Headlands

I will spend my time researching and exploring the landscape, looking for insects and flora and fauna that may go unnoticed by the usual passerby. Additionally, I will examine the many fascinating textures of the surrounding architectural and geological structures. Using my sketchbook as documentation, I will bring these findings back to my studio to incorporate into my art practice. I plan on continuing a series emphasizing excavation of painting and drawing, using process to erode and transform my surfaces. Weathering delicately rendered graphite drawings with sanding, pouring plant pigments onto the surface of canvases, and constructing imagery through a series of kicks and fingerprints.