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Painting by Allison Gildersleeve

“Like the stagehands who dress the set between acts in a play, I employ layered, saturated colors, flattened textures, and chaotic brushwork in service of painted worlds that set the stage for action. These scenes of disjointed interiors and chaotic landscapes are devoid of actors, but the detritus left in the wake of their presence compresses generations of interstitial moments from past and present, all cast in the shadow of the town my family has inhabited since the early 1900s. When the pandemic exploded in New York City, my husband, children, and I returned to this town. In these months of quiet, as I’ve walked the cobweb of streets through neighborhoods I’ve memorized since childhood, I’ve felt the parallel presence of the daily lives, dramatic or mundane, that existed here before my time. While my paintings were once confined to my own personal timeline, now the imagined histories of other lives that date back centuries have seeped into my work.”

—Allison Gildersleeve