alyssa dennis

I'm a native of Baltimore, MD who now has a studio practice in Brooklyn, NY. I hold an MFA from Tulane University and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. I have also attended the Solar Energy International, Carbondale, CO and Maryland University of Integrative Health. I've been involved with working in and doing research on various alternative building and construction methods since 2005. My experience extends to living roof construction, historic restoration and being a laborer and adobe plaster specialist for the construction of a 27,000 sqft straw bale Friends Community School in College Park, MD. Recently, I have been expanding my artistic efforts by rendering concept illustrations for various architectural projects.
I currently have representation from Johanssen Gallery, Berlin. In addition I have had representation from Kesting/Ray, NYC and Ellen Miller Gallery, Boston. I've exhibited at Pulse LA and ImPulse, Miami as well as Fountain Art Fair. This year I had a solo show with White Walls, SF and am currently showing work with Causey Contemporary, NY.
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My work explores architecture and constructed spaces as a biological system — one that changes and transforms, evolving to its highest rate of functionality. Take something as simple as a wall form: a modular component that expands and contracts in all four directions but also divides, demarcates, contains, shelters, protects, segregates, isolates, and guides. My goal is to represent an integrated built environment, one free of compartmentalization. Unfortunately, this is not something that always exist in reality due to social, political, or economic interests. My work is a visual amalgamation between a choreographed domain and the iterative nature of the un-choreographed where there is also no bias of material usage. Ultimately, my work reflects the social and environmental implications of the ever-transforming wax and wane between permanence and impermanence, while also making the invisible visible.

In my daily interactions with constructed space, I see architecture as a manipulator of vision. Whether I am working with drawing media, sculpture, or photography, I view constructed space in layers—of material, of space, and of time. Even though the compositions and arrangements of images or objects, in the work, remain fixed in reality, the unreliable or erratic nature of our vision or attention causes these elements to seem as if they are changing. I want to signify the transient nature of the building process as if it were some kind of mythic practice. A significant influence for me has been the study of ancient cultural sites in which mounds, standing stones, or menhirs are placed as magnetic markers for ritual purposes or points of communication. I see the wall formations and placement of objects in my work as modern magnetic markers that advocate a reexamination of our lived environments. By using the visual representation of constructed space, I work to assemble hybridized situations of manmade elements and non-manmade elements, which also actively manipulate time and space based on their cultural connotations. I am interested in the degrees of separation between geologic substances within our environment and how their rudiments create our perceived world. In particular, I have used the setting of the construction site or test site as a point of departure to speak about the beginnings of raw earthly materials, which are then composed into building material. Much like a set of child’s building blocks, always vulnerable to rearrangement, the actions of braking down and building up are repeated from one composition to the next. These settings wax and wane within process states that collectively resemble construction, decomposition, archeological excavation, theater set, place and non-place.

These drawings were produced with an almost scientific meticulousness, parts of which were at any moment erased, scratched into, layered upon or completely covered over. Similar to the hybridization of visual imagery within my work, I also employ myriad textures that are produced through the interaction of various mediums, including graphite, colored pencil, gouache, and ground pigment.