Artist Interview – Carol Alleman, Sculptor

Please enjoy this interview, a continuation in our series focusing on the artist, with Arizona-based Carol Alleman.

Carol Alleman Bronze, Gallery MAR

Carol Alleman Bronze, Gallery MAR

How would you describe your work to a novice collector, or someone new to the art world?

My earliest work in bronze is quite beautifully organic while holding the same ethereal appeal as my current, more intricate body of work. The complete volume holds a voice of the other realm transcending the solitary and captivating, visual appeal.  Companion writings become the marriage of both the visual and written art forms in my work.  Together they create a sort of magical, mystical dance celebrating the wisdom, beauty and miracles of nature.

Symbolism is often hidden within the work, while also at times visually apparent. This is intended to mirror our lives woven within both the visible and invisible realms – and with often seemingly hidden meaning. Edition numbers are symbolic, as well as often both positive and negative spaces within the pieces.  The highly intricate, multi-colored patinas within the cut-out vessel form have become my notably unique signature.  The companion writings describe the inspiration for the work while inviting connections between nature and the human spirit – in all its colors. I use the visual realm to evoke a deep realization of the invisible realms.

When did you know that you were an artist?

I knew I enjoyed being creative at an early age as any free time I had was spent creating anything – and from anything.  I did not have much playtime through my childhood, yet my sister and I turned all our incessant chores into creative play as often as possible (she is perhaps more creative than I). My tiny bedroom, shared with my sister, was my first canvas – always covered with something new I had created, while changing from season to season.  My aunt, however, really initiated my consideration of exploring the fine arts when she set up a canvas on an easel in her pantry when I was probably about ten or so and told me to “paint whatever I see until dinner was ready”.  She had seven children at her feet, and  set up a large, old easel giving me oil paints and ancient, beautiful brushes to work with – I didn’t know a  single thing about any of the materials or how to use them, I simply explored.  That day, I painted a large red hen sitting proudly with her eggs – we had just gathered the eggs together. And…I was thrilled with the process and my interest swelled dramatically that warm afternoon when hours miraculously transformed into minutes in a tiny farmhouse pantry. I missed dinner.

Throughout all the many seasons of my life I engaged in creative activities with sheer pleasure – in the kitchen, both cooking and baking, in the garden, walking, on paper, with fabric….anywhere and anytime.  Simply painting or creating something in my house as a child was highly unusual – we lived on a small farm and the land supported us in all ways so it took the entire family constantly working together to keep it all going. An Artist? Well, I believe we are each artists in our own unique venues and expressing it in highly diverse ways. It still surprises me, sometimes, when I realize I have been fully supported by my work as a professional artist for all these years – I feel deeply blessed by both the writing and the sculpting.  Together they form one magical dance and a profoundly beautiful, mystery.

How do you continue to stay inspired – do you have a daily desire to create?

The desire to create is always present; it is simply waiting for me to show up and give it voice once more. The creative desire is constantly hungry and always sorting in a myriad of ways regardless of what I’m doing at the time. My subconscious does a lot of work for me (thankfully).  I‘m never dry on ideas, rather challenged to see clearly “who is up next” as often so many seem to be screaming for my undivided attention at the sculpting pedestal –  and/or on paper. I do not create (as in to sculpt or begin new work) everyday as the realities of running a business (to allow me to work as a professional artist) must be given their due share of time as well to keep a healthy balance; but I do try to do at least one or two creative activities each day, even if they are short ones.  Years ago when I felt unclear as to who or what was “up next” I developed a habit of sculpting my index (pointer) finger in clay – by the time I finished the next place to begin was clear. The simple act of sculpting my finger “pointed” the way for me – and always in a helpful direction.  I wish I had saved those many fingers….it could be an inspiring work of art in itself I suppose. And, I also meditate to bring balance and creativity into my day. Even ten minutes of meditation, or two paragraphs of writing, or sculpting or sketching a simple finger or bloom can dramatically “open the gates” allowing me to effortlessly receive clarity regarding whatever comes my way that day. It’s a beautiful anchor that holds me steady. It’s really a balancing act with seasons running as transient as life itself – I love the diversity of what I do as I trust it helps me see things more clearly when they do call me to the creative table with them. I find honoring whatever color the season may be (even if I seem to be resisting it) always ends up being the very best approach for me – in all ways.

What other surprising occupations have you had?

I was a French fry girl at McDonalds in the 70’s along with hand lettering commercial signage, a reference librarian; owning my own business as a floral designer in the 80’s after working in a floral shop for several years as a designer; a professional cake decorator and instructor, a children’s art teacher and curriculum writer, along with over a decade of experience working in sales and marketing in the interconnect industry and a local PBS station. While I, at the time, hated those years in sales and marketing, in retrospect, they were outstanding, fertile grounds to prepare me quite well to run a successful business as an artist today. I am always moved and deeply grateful when reflecting upon the absolute perfection within all the diversity along my life journey.

How do you want collectors to feel when they engage with your work?

I really want my work to bring to the surface something they recognize as a truth for themselves – as Home. I hope it speaks to their soul in a very quiet, while powerful manner; as it also inspires them to listen quietly to nature’s voice and wisdom in all her seasons.  When this happens, I believe we receive a glimpse of the true unity we each reflect in a collective way. We often think we are so unique – yet we are all much more alike than different. Our expressions, within our earthly forms are beautifully diverse, while at the core we are indeed always One. It is my hope that the work will continue to speak to my collectors over many years – changing its voice right along with the changing seasons of their lives. I hope for it always to be an inspiring, reassuring, ray of beauty, Truth and Mystery.


Artist Interview — Jamie Burnes

How would you describe your work to a novice collector, or someone new to the art world?

The works are playful and life-like, encouraging a closer look which will reveal a unique layering of textures, materials and forms. I am intrigued with mixing materials, some natural and some man-made. My work is about taking a deeper look at the natural world and recognize our deep connection and relationship to it.


What is an Art Book that has influenced your work?

There are quite a few books, and the most memorable is the first time I saw that coffee table book by Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature. I remember when a friend showed it to me I was so excited to make things, I went for a walk and started stacking rocks and digging holes. It really showed me that art is not only an idea, but also the acts of seeing, feeling, of getting in the mud and having the whole thing fall apart. If I get bummed about making something I turn to that book. When I need inspiration to draw, I find my copy of Henry Moore’s sheep sketches. The line drawings in there are so full of life.

When did you know that you were an artist?

In sixth grade an art teacher connected me with a classic figurative sculptor in Boston. I was able to do a work-study project with him;  I loved working for him, learning, and being in his studio. From then on all my life plans included the goal of making more sculpture. Whether is was go-carts, rock piles or plates of steel, I have always wanted to re-shape them and make them into something else with my hands.

How do you continue to stay inspired – do you have a daily desire to create?

I always try to work with new objects, new materials and new subject mater. With each piece I grow and learn. I am experimenting all the time. I love finding new objects or collecting unusual pieces of wood that will inspire some new creature. Often I think of things that I would like to make just as I am about to fall asleep. I usually jump up and sketch out the shapes quickly or else it morphs overnight into something completely different, or gets lost entirely.

Guermo Bull2

What other surprising occupation have you had?

I have not had too many interesting jobs besides making sculpture. Growing up I did many jobs in the construction industry and I have renovated a few houses on my own. One of my favorite jobs was working ski patrol when I first moved to New Mexico. I loved that job but did not have the time to keep it. One of the most satisfying parts was learning that the support one can provide to people in need, even limited to stabilizing and transporting, all that is allowed as an EMT, does a lot to help injured people in crisis to feel better.

How do you want your collectors to feel when they engage with your work?

I know that every viewer will relate in a different way. My real hope is that the works evoke multiple feelings. Every person will see differently and from a different light. Sometimes a work can look sharp and angry, and at other times the same piece can seem soft and life like. It is the same phenomenon as when a word loses its meaning by being repeated over and over; after a long time of looking at my sculpture, the subject might fade and morph so people might relate more to the materials, colors and negative spaces.

I am as happy when people articulate to me why they do not like my sculpture as when they like it.  All successful sculpture will inspire criticism as well as praise. To provoke a response, to inspire thought, feelings, questions and controversy through creation is always a goal.


New Paintings — Utah + New Mexico with Michael Kessler


Michael Kessler, Seabed Series, 2014

Michael Kessler, Seabed Series, 2014

Michael Kessler‘s has called New Mexico home for several decades, building a life there with his family and his art. Recently, he has migrated North to Utah, where he has a cabin, surrounded by the grandeur that is Southern Utah’s nature.

"Skyword," by Michael Kessler, 2014

We recently heard from Mr. Kessler, “I just want to paint the sky.” Indeed, that is what he is focusing on in a new series of works entitled “Seabed” and “Skyword.” Gallery MAR is fortunate to have a selection of the new series for our guests to view in our front gallery.

The new paintings are a combination of media that is painted wet in wet. The works are on paper, and soaked with acrylic medium, essentially transforming the paper into acrylic itself. Mr. Kessler allows the paint to move and shape the painting, following the direction that the medium moves him.

Collecting Art – The Thrill of the Hunt

"A Remembrance" by Matt Flint, 2014

“A Remembrance” by Matt Flint, 2014

By Jennifer Hughston, Sales Manager

“There’s nothing like the discovery, the chase and the capture,” said Raymond D. Nasher, a well known sculpture collector from Texas.

Buying art provides a rush, an adventure, a feeling of “being alive” and a chance to express individuality. As a fine art consultant at Gallery MAR, I see this daily: the collector who is so excited about the new work or the discovery of a fabulous new artist that they have not encountered before. It is a beautiful experience!

I have been reading a new book about the wonder of the chase, of acquiring artwork, and it gives me a new-found appreciation for the art buying process. Collectors each have their own story and their own perspective. I am fortunate to be there, each time a gallery guest connects with a painting or a sculpture, or even a new process such as encaustic.

Discovery – Sharing my passion and knowledge for the art, the technique and/or the artist is one of the best things about being in the art business…

Chase – The getting to know the client – we are so lucky to experience so many people from so many different areas of the country, and of the world!

Capture – The bargaining. The sense of excitement I feel when the collector decides to make a piece of art their own.

Take a look at the book yourself, here.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Collecting Art for Love, Money and More

Arranged into ten topics that are approached through a key question and answer format, art advisors Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner offer an accessible yet unrivalled insider’s view into the often opaque world of collecting art, drawing from their extensive experience in working with collectors and institutions of contemporary art. 

Collecting Art for Love, Money and More looks at why collecting art is a completely unique experience that offers emotional, intellectual and social rewards. The authors argue that the motivations for acquiring a work of art and building a collection, unlike buying anything else, may be any combination of investment potential, aesthetics, love of art, challenge, intellectual exploration, social status, adrenaline rush, ego-building or public attention. 


Surviving Your First Time: Art Appreciation


Jeff Koons "Balloon Dog" sculpture at Versailles

Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog” sculpture at Versailles

A recent article in Art in America touched home for me. It’s entitled “Feeling” and is written by Jeff Koons, arguably one of the most successful artists of our time.

Koons’ work will always remind me of college, of museum tours with an Intro to Art History class trying to make our way, and make sense, in the contemporary art world of Los Angeles. At LACMA, I saw Gerhard Richter. Anselm Kiefer. Jasper Johns. After a childhood of exploring historical art, it was truly my first experience with contemporary art. Out of my comfort zone,  and fraught.

In the “Feeling” article, Koons speaks to the idea of surviving your first time viewing art. And I think many people can empathize with this idea. I know I can. To see something new, to think and feel in a new way, is terrifying.

“I vividly remember surviving my first day of art school… We went to the Baltimore Museum of Art. I saw works by Cezanne and Braque, and I didn’t know who they were… I feel like I survived that moment. And I don’t think a lot of people do. They feel like they’re not prepared. Trying out for a sports team: if you’re not already at a certain level, you’re not going to make it. But art doesn’t work that way.
I always try to make a work that will help people survive that first moment. So that, when they come into contact with art, it will be about their own history, their own potential.”

It was the Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog,” shining in a room of gray, that I could understand. That had meaning for me, as an eighteen-year-old, new to LA. And although I have come to appreciate the genius of Keifer, I will always thank Koons for making the transition to transcendence… easy.