Alison Barrows-Young – Star Of The Week
Depicting the human figure has always been an area of art that compels me. Although, I often turn to other
engrossing subject matter, I always return to drawing and painting people when I hear the call to pursue the nature of
our humanity. Through out my career as an artist the various bodies of work I have developed, intermittently began or
ended with a study of the human figure. find the portrayal of human beings fascinating as it directs my observations outwardly, as well as inwardly. Ultimately, for me it is a way to come to understand self. As in science, the study of re
presentational art, begins by developing an understanding of the physical then naturally wanders into the realm of consciousness, subconsciousness, philosophy and psychology.
” My love for sacred imagery comes from my maternal grandmother. She was feisty, ingenious, aesthetically discerning, deeply religious, strict , ever present and keenly interested in my moral development. Through the years I have become evermore grateful for her astute intelligence, her love, guidance and absolutely, her discipline. Her voice flows within me along with my own. Now years after her death she is an abiding presence, especially in times of sorrow.
Her world was full of devotion and the Byzantine aesthetic that goes along with Roman Catholic belief. As a girl I loved the oiled darkened pews, the dusty velvet prie-dieu, and the vaulted stone arches of deep interiors that echoed footsteps, hushed whispers and stifled coughs. The private porticos, carved confessionals with sliding screens along with the wistful saints and the crying Mary’s were compelling. As was the dying Prince, grotesque and beautiful in his unimaginable suffering against the breathtaking stain glass. Every detail seemed to ring with Mysticism.
The captive audience in white wrist-gloves, black laced caplets, starched collars, long cloth buttoned robes seemed appropriate for a world where Angels are everywhere. Who could not love those alluring, robed, sirens, with heavily feathered wings that gently watched over the innocent and wretched? These partially human deities that could fly us between worlds and out of harms way, I loved them the most.
It is the sensual aspects of the Church that still calls to me and puts me in the mind of a higher power, rather than the language that described and explained it. The words were full of awkwardness in the mind of a modern child. “Angels don’t have black hair,” she once admonished, while examining a small painting I had created to please her. Startled, I looked into her face, at her dark eyes and jet black hair with wonder. Was it possible that angels don’t have such beautiful hair, so glossy and black like the night sky? Fortunately, the conflict between her belief and her dark beauty were one of many things that helped me to determine that grace has no such preferences and has allowed me to continue to embrace the angelic world of my early childhood. “