Marla Allison is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. This painting is entitled, “Grandmother Wisdom”. All of Marla’s paintings have a “gallery wrap” so the painting continues onto the side so that framing is not necessary. She said of this series:
“The paintings are emphasized with the red, because of the passion and fragility of human existence. These paintings started from the faces of Hopi girls by Edward Curtis. I wanted to change them and add the shawl. The shawl has a more “global” feel than just Southwest. The face also show a cubist style, so that it feels like a growth of myself as an artist making important, purposeful paint strokes. They feel like a reflection of myself going through life.”
Marla says of her painting:
“I am from Laguna Pueblo so I paint Laguna Pueblo. I paint and create for Laguna history to be great and remembered. I paint because I was passed down a gift from my grandfathers; I paint to continue what they started. I began with simple works of loose brush strokes, slight symbols of pottery design, and shapes taught to me in my youth. I researched the artists that I found powerful and connected what they did with what I do. From study and admiration, I found that I had something all my own. Most of my influence is from pottery design of Laguna Pueblo and Hopi Pueblo. I have also found much influence by the cubism of Pablo Picasso and squares of Paul Klee. I don’t stick with one certain style but it is all my own, that’s what makes it mine. With the use of pottery design, I have painted landscapes that have design on them symbolizing where the clay that holds these designs comes from. I have painted mosaic paintings that are broken up squares and by taking these paintings apart with the image, the viewer is forced to visually put them back together as a way of putting themselves and their past into it in the process. I paint so I remember where I came from. I paint so others can remember where I come from. I paint to be remembered.”
Allison began her expression through art in her youth and gained formal education at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM where she obtained an Associates’s Degree in three-dimensional art. Since graduating from IAIA, Marla has exhibited artwork at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market, the Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Smithsonian Native Art Market in New York. Permanent collections with Marla’s work are found in, The Heard Museum Permanent Collection (Phoenix, AZ), The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (Santa Fe, NM), The Red Cloud Indian School Collections (Pine Ridge, SD) and various private collections around the country and also Rome, Italy. She was also the 2010 recipient of the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native Woman’s Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, NM.
Marla Allison is a full-time artist and member of the Pueblo of Laguna Pueblo, (New Mexico) currently residing on the Pueblo. In 2008 she won the inaugural Innovation Award at the Santa Fe Indian Market for her painting, “Mother”, which is now alongside her painting, “Father”, in the permanent collection of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ. Following the award, Marla was invited to be a Storyteller at the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence, RI, which is the East Coast equivalent to TED Talks. In 2010, Marla received the Native Woman’s Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, NM. Recently, in March of 2016, Marla won Best of Division, 2D artwork, at the Heard Museum Indian Market for her painting “Labor of Love” which was purchased by the La Fonda Hotel for their permanent collection in Santa Fe, NM. Her first solo exhibition was at the Loma Colorado Library in Rio Rancho, NM in 2016. In 2017 she had another solo exhibition at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM. Recently Mrs. Allison returned from a month-long artist residency in Abu Dhabi, UAE from April –May 2017.