Allison Brown is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and educator living and working in the Twin Cities. She received her MFA in Visual Studies from theMinneapolis College of Art and Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota; her BFA in Painting with Art History minor from the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana; and her AA with Studio Arts and Design emphasis from Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. Fellowships and awards received include the 2015 WorkART Kunstverein Fellowship from the Center for German and European Studies at the University of Minnesota, the MFA Trustees' Scholarship at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Gold and Silver Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA). Her work has been exhibited across the Midwest, including the Indiana University Fine Arts Library, the Harrison Center for the Arts, the Garfield Park Arts Center, the Soo Visual Arts Center, and the Soap Factory. Her skills in design and painting have been utilized by Cottey College, the Mooresville Public Library in Mooresville, Indiana, and Music for All, Inc., and her writing has been included in Temporary Art Review and publications from the Women's Caucus for Art.
A wise friend once told me that the greatest human desire is to be known. Artists do this in many ways, the prism to each discrete outcome being our practice. My prism is storytelling. As a millennial, my formative years were steeped in MTV and the Internet’s immersive grasp. As such, stories have transformed from simple tales we tell around the campfire to something far more enriched. We hold radio programs in our telephones, watch TV serials on demand, and can change the fate of our favorite characters with a push of a button. And as the truthiness of the Internet begins to bleed into our day-to-day existence, so much of our identity is recorded in these entertainment spaces. We learn to selectively edit the stories of ourselves every time we log onto Facebook or show our brunch on Instagram; we are, in many ways, walking fictions ourselves. And so when much of our digital identity is comprised of those selected fictions, I craft fictions that live in those spaces as truth.
Medium is less important than product, but I frequently gravitate to sound, installation, performance, and web environments as platforms for my immersive experiences. Sound and performance shares in its awareness of the audience-artist contract and how we give and take across unsaid boundaries. As a sound and performance artist, I am interested in how far I can absorb my audience into the artwork and vice versa. Will an audience member sit amongst my installation? Will they send Twitter messages to one of my characters in real time? Would they help me in the event that it looked like I needed assistance within a performance? The further an audience member is capable of participating in a work, the more likely they are to form an emotional attachment to the narrative at hand. When we form emotional attachments, empathetic connections form that can subtly shift perspectives. Learning intellectually holds the possibility for transience as our minds fade; learning emotionally, however, sticks into the core of our being.
The themes in my work are grounded in my working class childhood in south-central Indiana. Feminisms, politics, and class are central lenses through which I construct my narratives and populism versus authority act as the tension that colors context during distribution. My most recent body of work, The Psychodynamic Sequence, specifically deconstructs the internalized struggle of gender and mental illness and expresses these struggles in externalized forms. Sound emanates from unknown places and forces you to question your senses; text twists from kind to cruel under the distorted eye of the main character. Each segment within The Psychodynamic Sequence forces the audience to question their place in the narrative: are they going crazy? Are they party to the pain felt at the hands of the main character? How does their witnessing of her truth affect the outcome of her story – will they ignore her agony, or will they hold her up towards a path of healing and redemption?