With an abundance of artistic talent in Rhode Island, it’s refreshing to meet an artist who actually invites you to ‘Please Touch’ her works.
Allison Paschke is native to Rhode Island. With her artistic and teaching mother, she traveled around the country and lived in a variety of small living quarters. It was in these spaces she fine-tuned her creations into transient miniature works of art. From there her college work focused on photography where she learned and acquired a fondness for light. With her second BFA she studied ceramics, and porcelain became her artistry. With its delicate nature and fragility, she experimented with shapes, touch and design. Afterward, with a growing family, she morphed her works into minimalist pieces. While her shift toward sculpture grew, she worked on her MFA and her list of mediums grew to paper, resin and translucent objects.
The Please Touch exhibit at AS220 on Mathewson Street in Providence allows the ‘touch’ sense. Do you realize our nervous system actually has a specific sensory system or organs dedicated to each sense? Intriguing! Upon arrival at the exhibit, I was met by warm putty-colored shapes that occupied the floor. Somewhat apprehensive about interacting with her works, I seemed to have ingrained ‘Please DON’T touch the artwork.’ There were gallery guests kneeling and interacting with her ‘Hypatia’ installation, which made it easier for me to take my approach. Finding my own place on the floor, an aura of familiarity and wonder embraced me. It was familiar in that we all love tactile things, even when it’s new and unknown. The wonder portion stemmed from enjoying the visual shapes and hollowed sounds as I moved, layered and formed my own pattern on the flooring surface. Allison described her golden hieroglyphics on the pyramid shapes as symbols taken from an ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician, Hypatia of Alexandria. Sadly she was murdered by a Christian mob in 415 CE and to this day her writings have not been translated.
Allison’s collection continued with interactive colorful and geometric wafted shapes perched on shelves. Again, I interacted by overlapping and moving the shapes across the shelf. With each formation I touched and explored; there were so many options to keep me going! Creating my own patterns based on her works was very rewarding.
The largest piece is a wall installation that’s geometric with strategically placed translucent slices of resin layered with thin pins. It makes a presence in the gallery. The organic shapes are clear and cloudy, while others hinted on warm citron hues. With this interaction, adding and relocating shapes from pin to pin makes you a master at layering while having fun with overlapping color effects. I could have spent all evening mixing and experimenting with shapes, pins and patterns!
Most of Allison’s artwork is interactive. With light, layers, movement and interactive play, her message is physical and ‘in the moment’ with ‘the ‘balancing of the tensions between opposing forces.’
Through her installations, the show is very special for each person who touches and interacts. Some may stand-by and view, but the excitement of experiencing Allison’s work brings a new meaning to encountering art and will have you walking away with a new found appreciation for the artist and her 3-dimensional concepts.
Please Touch exhibit runs through March 25 at AS220; Allisonpaschke.com