Marla Allison, 2010 Dobkin Native Artist Fellow

Marla Allison (3-D)Marla Allison (3-D)2010 Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native Artist Fellow. Stereo photograph by Jason S. Ordaz. Request 3-D glasses or build your own (PDF, 315 KB).
Marla Allison (3-D)
Path of LifePath of LifeView of Marla Allison’s tetraptych painting, Path of Life, located in Vault Two at the IARC. Courtesy of the School for Advanced Research. Photograph by Elysia Poon.Acoma Jar (3-D)Acoma Jar (3-D)Acoma, 1900
Clay and paint
Stereo photograph by Jason S. Ordaz. Request 3-D glasses or build your own (PDF, 315 KB).

Olla (water jar) that Marla Allison selected for design inspiration in Path of Life.
Path of LifeAcoma Jar (3-D)

Marla Allison is a painter and member of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. In 2010, Marla received the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Fellowship. During her residence at SAR, she completed a four-piece panel landscape titled Path of Life. She utilized several pots from the collection, such as an Acoma jar, as design inspiration for the patterns in the geographic formations in her composition. In the featured video interview, Marla describes her artistic process and how she combines multiple artistic processes in her paintings.

For Marla, the painting process is a combination of myriad art forms and cultural traditions. “My influence is pottery design, European design, as well as so many others that I use to challenge myself. [In this way] I keep my work interesting to myself and also to the viewer.” Furthermore, Marla perceives trade as a temporal continuum that intersects with artistic practice. “Trade is something historically significant for artists. It shows where humans have come from and what we’re going into. With my work, I find a lot of influence from pottery and from what I studied at the Indian Arts Research Center adopted into my style. I use designs from Laguna and Acoma pottery and try to adopt that into different forms, different layers, etc. I’ve brought that into my style, and that’s really changed what a landscape could be.” Marla’s work exemplifies how modern Native (and non-Native) artistic expression continues a tradition of adopting designs, materials, and ideas in novel and creative ways.

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