Other Investigations: Allison Rowe

Previously featured on Make Space, the Toronto-based artist Allison Rowe talks about her practice and work, along with her experience at ACRE Residency.

On Collecting, Material, and Approach:

Most of my projects begin when I come across an interesting piece of information that sparks my creative process. This information can come in any form- articles, websites, photographs, anecdotes, maps and graphs are some of my favorites. I hoard these items in folders, and around my studio. A lot of my studio work is a direct exploration of these original sources while other pieces use collected data as a starting point for more abstracted works.

I tend to have numerous projects on the go at all times. Some of these works are large, long-term pieces while others are quick and dirty experiments. I am a social practice, performance and installation artist. When I conceptualize a new project I prioritize the content and the audience over my medium. I select my materials based on how I think I can best get my audience to engage with the subject matter of the piece. This often results in new material explorations and collaborations with other people who are experts in the medium I am working in.


On Research and Site:

Research is an important aspect of my studio practice. I am particularly interested in science, politics and activism. It is from these fields that most of my work begins.

I am currently based in Toronto, Canada. There is a comprehensive granting structure here that really enables a lot of emerging artists to spend more time with their practice and try more experimental projects. Most non-commercial galleries also pay artists exhibiting fees which further facilitates the artistic community of the city. On the flip side, rent here is quite costly, so I am only able to maintain a home-studio at this time.


What has your experience at ACRE been like? What kinds of projects or adventures did you participate in? At the time, what was the most valuable aspect of this residency in particular?

While at ACRE I attempted projects that I wouldn’t be able to undertake at home. I had a great time learning the nuances of printmaking and attended a whole bunch of useful software workshops. It was really amazing to have the space and the time to consider different methods of making.

Has your experience at ACRE affected the work you are making in the studio now?

When I got to ACRE, I was totally burnt out from my full-time job and feeling really disconnected from my work. Being at ACRE not only allowed me to investigate new mediums, it also helped me remember how much fun it is to make art and to talk to other people about making art!