Abi Alice was born in Sydney, Australia, and currently lives between London and Sydney.
Abi Alice is an artist whose practice extends across a range of media, from painting, photography and sculpture to sound and object design. Much of her work develops from her frequent international travel during which she takes photographs, conducts research and engages in collaborative projects.
Mathematics, geometry, colour, abstraction, spatiality and perception are ongoing concerns in Alice's work. Alice believes that the fundamentals of geometry, mathematics and colour are a universal language. They resonate with our collective consciousness and can communicate across cultural and generational differences. Ever-present in her practice is the search for balance in both forms and colour-form combinations, and her work often contemplates different approaches to mark making and the nature of the creative process. Alice believes creativity is key to life. In her work - and in particular her photography, which is inspired by everyday life - she aims to bridge the divide between art and life.
Alice's multi-disciplinary approach defies the traditional boundaries between art forms. Although her work moves between different mediums, her interest in geometry and mathematics, and her focus on arriving at beauty, are the unifying elements in her practice. Although open about the source of inspiration for her projects, she resists the urge to rationalise and articulate her creative output. For Alice, one of the appealing aspects of art is its ambiguity. In her view, art should be a relief from the analytical world; she hopes that her objects and images provoke thought, rather than providing precise answers.
Alice has both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in fine art. Initially majoring in drawing and gold- and silver-smithing, she later completed a Masters degree in which she pursued painting and photography. Alice's work is represented in public and private collections around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Colour: Form: Ratio
plywood and acrylic
The Colour:Form:Ratio Dimensional Painting Series evolved from Alice's interest in painting, as well as colour, form and geometric abstraction. Alice aims to arrive at harmonious colour-form combinations and presents a different approach to painting that she feels is more in keeping with her interests in colour and form.
One of the intentions of the series is to pose questions about our perception and understanding of painting. Alice's work combines sculptural elements and painted compositions. She explores the notion of painting-as-object, challenging the traditional idea of painting as rectilinear canvases.
Rather than displaying paintings as two-dimensional surfaces, Alice's works project from the wall. This projection into space occurs in two ways: because of the three-dimensionality of the painted object, and the spatial illusions created by the use of colour. Alice explores the sublime qualities of colour and the optical effects that can be achieved through different colour combinations.
Alice's initial point of departure is the construction of the form itself. Once the proportions of the forms are resolved, coordinates are used to plot arcs and ratios are utilised to determine the colour compositions with direct reference to the forms. The materiality of the work is also carefully considered. Forms are constructed from bent plywood and the resulting works retain the subtle evidence of the timber grain as well as the brushstrokes of matt acrylic paint. Alice celebrates this raw quality, as it is evidence of the hands of the maker.
Let the Form Speak
Bent plywood and acrylic paint
This series of monochromes evolved through Alice's impulse to explore the emotive power of form. Proportions are carefully considered, the intention being to create harmonious forms that project outwards from the architectural spaces in which they are installed. For Alice, these forms are the materialisation of movement in space.
Let the Form Speak is an inquiry into spatiality and blurs the divide between sculpture and its surroundings. The series is reliant on architecture. Without it the shadows cast by each form - which add another dimension to the work - would not prevail.
Alice celebrates the subtle ambiguity of the forms, the beauty of which lies in their silence. They are quiet, weightless, meditative works that resonate tranquility and calm.
Painting by Eye
Photographs printed on Hahnemuhle paper
Photography has always been integral to Alice's practice. Whether using it to capture observations and ideas, or as an artwork in its own right, Alice is drawn to the immediacy with which photography can capture a subject.
Alice discovered an aesthetic connection between her photographic imagery and her abstract painted compositions. Both share a similar colour range and geometric configuration. She recognised the potential of her photographs as raw materials for the construction of a new variant of abstract composition, removed from the process of painting. Excited by this discovery, she abandoned her brush and palette and took up the camera and began to 'paint by eye'.
This shift in approach to mark-making led Alice to consider what it is that defines a painting. Can a work of art still be regarded as a painting when both the gesture and physical act of painting are removed? Alice's work challenges our perceptions, shaking up accepted frameworks of critique and emphasising her belief that creativity is more important than choice of medium.
Alice has spent much of her life visiting galleries and museums around the world. For her they are a Mecca - spaces she makes pilgrimage to in order to see works by the many artists she admires. These journeys have, in turn, facilitated new work. Alice sees galleries and museums as environments abundant with creative possibilities. They are not solely spaces for admiring the works of fellow artists, but are themselves spaces of inspiration in which creative practice continues to evolve.
While displayed objects are usually the focus of attention in the gallery or museum, Alice derives inspiration from unexpected details in the space itself - details that are often overlooked. Her inspiration lies not in the framed works or sculptures but rather in the abstract shadows projected in the gallery's ceiling details or architectural structure. She captures these details on camera, producing images that become the foundation of her abstract works.
An important aspect of the series is that each work is derived from ONE photograph. Although the spatial relationships are altered, Alice strives to maintain the essence of the original gallery space, including its light and colour. In our contemporary digital age, Alice believes it is important to maintain the essence of the original, because without it the photographs are devoid of the life of the gallery or museum and do not retain meaning.
There is a sense of surprise in each work, stemming from the viewer's realisation that the resolved abstract works are derived from real yet inconspicuous spaces. Alice encourages viewers to be open to the beauty around them, even in the smallest of details. In this her work aims to bridge the divide between art and life - to plant a seed, germinate a thought, and encourage viewers to look and see creatively.
The series is underpinned by a playful irony in that the photographs have been taken in the 'photography-free zone' of the gallery or museum. (Although she is a surreptitious photographer, Alice is always respectful of the 'flash-free zone'.) Drawn into these galleries by the work of such artists as Rodchenko, Fontana, Albers and Ellsworth Kelly, it is the actual physical environment itself that triggers a journey of creative inspiration and the continuation of creative practice.
Drawn to the creative potential of geometry and mathematics, Alice set out to create a series of drawings and folded objects that possess a sense of beauty.
This series explores the endless possibilities of lines and arcs of varying lengths and proportions. It utilises these fundamentals to create two-dimensional geometric drawings. The challenge and the joy are then in the transformation of these drawings - through choices in cutting, bending and folding using only one piece of material - into harmonious three-dimensional forms. The expression of creative ideas in both two- and three-dimensions is a methodology frequently explored in Alice's practice.
Each object in this series is made from polypropylene, a material selected for its favourable transparent quality, which does not conceal any part of the original two-dimensional drawing. Alice believes that every aspect of the creative process has value. Her original two-dimensional compositions are the foundation for her three-dimensional objects and for this reason it is important to Alice that evidence of the drawings is retained in the final objects. In this way, the works celebrate every aspect of the creative process.
Production Alessi spa, Italy
This project, conceived in 1996, reflects Alice's interest in the value systems we use to assess, on one hand, paintings and drawings, and on the other, objects.
Mathematics and geometry are Alice's fundamentals. She utilises lines and arcs to arrive at harmonious, geometric compositions. The compositions begin as drawings, develop into paintings, and then finally - through choices in cutting, bending and folding - are transformed into three-dimensional objects.
In this series Alice encourages the viewer to consider how we give value to objects of creative inspiration. Are our conclusions regarding value based on our instinctive response to objects, or are we influenced by group consciousness? Alice is interested in how the latter is formed, particularly through the influence of magazines, and also the curatorial, gallery and museum cultures.
Alice believes that all products of creative inspiration have the same value. The intention of this project is to celebrate all creative art forms and to illustrate how the same geometric fundamentals can be used to produce three different outcomes: a drawing, a painting and an object. Alice believes that we are living in an exciting time where 'anything goes', where the boundaries and frameworks that influence the perception of value are constantly blurred and dismantled, allowing creativity to be explored without limitations.
Drawing in the Digital Age
Giclée prints on Hahnemühle paper and gouache
Since the beginning of time, artists have engaged with the new technologies of their time. In Drawing in the Digital Age Alice experiments with the creative potential of 3D-modelling software to create a series of hand-coloured drawings. This series marks a shift in her practice from a primarily hands-on technique to a technological approach. Alice experiments with different methods of art production, employing computer-aided processes in combination with the traditional skills of hand colouring.
Drawn to the beauty and creative potential of grid structures, and extending her interest in mathematics and geometry - in particular the depiction of three-dimensional space in two-dimensions - Alice uses the curvilinear grids of 3D-modelling software to create drawings that give the illusion of form. This software is typically used to create architectural models and plans, however Alice is interested in these images as artworks in themselves.
While Alice's use of modern technology in this series engages with notions of the contemporary digital age, the inspiration for the work is based on an inquiry into the past - specifically, the Italian Renaissance, when perspectival systems were first mapped out mathematically. The perspective drawings of Leon Battista Alberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and Paolo Uccello led Alice to consider the shift in drawing devices from the Renaissance to the present.
© 2006-2012. No Images or text can be reproduced without prior consent.