Friday, July 3, 2009

Interview: Alison Mortisugu Responds to the Idealized Landscape

By Peggy Sue
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The exhibition “American Story” recently opened at the John Michael Kohler Arts
Center where 15 artists reveal their unique personal identities through their artwork. While Alison Mortisugu’s family remains in her home state of Hawaii, she now resides in Beacon Valley, New York along the Hudson River. From her Candlelit Sconce made from native Kukai nuts, metal and wood or her Early Warning Repeat Wallpaper, Mortisugu’s installations juxtapose the beauty in landscape with natural events that change the idealized picture, natural calamities that affect both the environment and people, clashing culture and contemporary society. Especially realized on her homeland where tidal waves, lava flows, hurricanes and tropical storms play havoc on these American islands. While signing a book written for the exhibit during the grand opening, Moritsugu explains her new work.

Q:  What inspired your new installations?
A: I started painting log slices with landscapes and have always considered the idealized images vs. the real and the perceived images of the land. This is the first time I’m appearing in a group show with my new work in the American story.

Q: What’s the process for producing your wallpapers?

A: I paint washes [for the designs and artwork] and then they are scanned into digital files. Then I work on files for the repeating patterns, which are printed out. Then it’s printed on adhesive paper that goes on the wall.

Q: So the wallpaper is pasted directly on the walls of the JMKAC?

A: Yes, it pasted right on the wall. I like the idea of wallpaper that can be produced
again. It’s a commercial process that can be reproduced if it’s destroyed when being
taken down. But put directly on the wall it functions as the paper should.

Q: Are there any exhibitions in the future for your new artwork?

A: I’m working on a show in Fall 2009 at the Katonah Museum in Albany, New York.
It’s the 400th anniversary since Henry Hudson discovered the Hudson River. So they’re
having a lot of events and festivals to celebrate this occasion all along the Hudson River
Valley. So I’m working on a piece that brings in the landscape of the River Valley.

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