Alison Van Pelt was born and raised in Los Angeles. She studied art at UCLA, Art Center, Otis Parsons and the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. Raised in the open-minded climate of 1970’s Los Angeles, she has been influenced by such disparate sources as Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, Paramahansa Yogananda, Helmut Newton, Dan Millman, Yayoi Kusama and Hunter S. Thompson (just to name a few). The subjects of her paintings range from animals to prizefighters to celebrities, spiritual leaders, Native American warriors and heads of state. Utilizing found images of these figures, she begins the complex process of drawing and painting a classical portrait, then blurring and rebuilding the oil on the canvas, accumulating and disintegrating, until the result is a beautiful, purposely-degraded, mystical evocation of her subject. Her painstaking technique, with its exquisite light and shadow, layers upon layers of paint, ambiguous, yet meticulous, brush strokes, coalesced by her discipline and meditative touch, brings out the best in her subjects. The paintings are revealing yet mysterious; they are not idealized, but humanized.
Van Pelt’s work has been exhibited in solo shows at The Fresno Art Museum and The Dayton Art Institute, as well as in galleries throughout the North America and Europe, and is represented in significant public collections, such as the Armand Hammer Museum, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, the Jumex Foundation in Mexico City, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, NASA, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She currently lives and works in Santa Monica, CA.
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