Mark Moore Gallery is proud to present "Salty Air," the third Los Angeles solo exhibition from local artist Allison Schulnik. Showcasing her distinctively textured canvases, ceramics, and works on paper, "Salty Air" stages a narrative born of the wistful sailor's tale – its characters loyal to the tragic, farcical beauty consistent within Schulnik's evolving cast. Yielding to the capricious plight of her unlikely protagonists, Schulnik embraces their trials and imperfections through dignified portraiture, a ceremonious haven in an otherwise inhospitable world.
Drawing upon divergent renditions of the same fable, The Little Mermaid (as presented in its original incarnation by Hans Christian Anderson, and its jovial Disney counterpart) notably serves as influence upon Schulnik's recent works. She candidly portrays elements of the contrasting versions as an allusion to the irreconcilability of seafaring life, her mermaids and sailors personifying the vulnerability inherent to want. The sailor is free from society, but privy to isolation, while the mermaid shares a discordant existence between acceptance and solitude. Further modeled upon autobiographical figures and experiences, Schulnik's pensive characters exude a muted nostalgia, at once otherworldly in their awkwardness, yet eerily familiar in their strife. As James Ensor paints the grotesque surrealism of the human condition, Schulnik confronts the theatricality of being, her heavily impastoed canvases forging dramatic terrains both sinister and endearing. Her tactile backdrops prompt us to navigate the uncharted mindscape of her creatures and misfits, and deliver an allegorical odyssey equivalent to our own.
Born in 1978 (San Diego, CA), Schulnik earned her BFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (CA). She has had significant solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Montreal, Rome and London, and has exhibited in both group shows and film screenings around the world, including those at the Garage Center for Contemporary Art (Moscow), St. Louis Contemporary Arts Museum (MO), Contemporary Arts Museum (LA), The Hammer Museum (CA), and the Hafia Museum of Art (Hafia), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), among others. Her work can be seen in the public collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), The Santa Barbara Art Museum (CA), Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Montreal), Museé de Beaux Arts (Montreal), and the Laguna Art Museum (CA) – where she will have a solo exhibition in 2013. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.