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With Ivy As Subject Matter And Medium, Resident To Present First Solo Art Exhibition

Published: December 23, 2017

Allison Irene Hornak is preparing her first solo gallery art show, “Fragments Of Work In Recession,” the first installment of her multiyear graduate research. This exhibit will be presented in the three-roomed Offsite Gallery at Norfolk Arts in Virginia, January 19 to March 9.

The exhibition by the Newtown resident will present a first round of work that considers ivy (Hedera Helix, or English ivy) as both a subject matter and artistic medium. It will incorporate photographs, a new performance work, and old sculptures “repaired” with new ivy clippings.

Ms Hornak will take creations for this show and build upon them over the next two years in her graduate research. All ivy photographed and used in this current work is from old vines on her property, near Paugussett State Forest.

“The ivy I’m working with is old vines in Sandy Hook,” she said. The plant is in the forest off Great Quarter Road. She is taking cuttings and rerootings as her muse and subject matter.

She applied for a show a year ago at an open call for submissions/proposals.

The show is her “exploration of ivy and what it may reveal,” she said. With her camera she explored vines and leaves by “getting down close to it,” to see its shape and form, she said. There are “really old ivy vines and I am going back to old sculptures and repairing them with the ivy, and hope to put those on view.”

She has used the ivy to repair old work and “point toward what’s to come, and my hope is to discover things that are useful outside my own interests, who knows what the roots and the shapes will reveal…”

Ms Hornak hopes to continue showing, and is currently doing graduate work.

“I’m hoping this exploration with ivy deepens and allows me to contribute something useful to artistic discourse … contribute to our deepening and changing notions of how humans relate to nature — our relationship to the planet and plants,” she said. “There is a lot of conversation — how do we help our environment, what type of patterns does humanity need to consider?

Her work weaves between performative action, sculpture, and written and spoken word. She was first exposed to alternative ways of making art through the student docent training program at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in interdisciplinary visual studies from Montserrat College of Art.

Ms Hornak has worked administratively within the Department of Performing Arts at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and for two years as the founder and director of Mine Art! Gallery in Sandy Hook.

She has completed residencies with Rocky Neck Art Colony and Hartford Art School’s Nomad/9 program. She has received funding and support for recent projects from Artspace in New Haven.

She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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