Painter Allison Reimus

"It is hard work to make a good painting, and that hard work should show."

On a quick Google search to find Allison Reimus' website, I became sidetracked by a small thumbnail of what looked like Allison jumping in front of a painting. It turns out that Allison, apart from being a twice featured New American Paintings artist, is also the catalyst behind the blog Jumping in Art Museums. As her profile states, "Sometimes, while visiting art museums and galleries, people get so excited by what they see that they have to jump for joy."

The idea, while wonderfully simple and silly, is incredibly indicative of the impact artwork can have on any one person. Now, not all art makes its viewers jump for joy - sometime's that's just not the artist's intent - but it can elicit an overwhelming visceral response. This particular power is why individuals like Allison Reimus chose to spend their lives exploring how visual artwork impacts the world around them.

Allison has wanted to be an artist since she can remember. This desire and curiosity to create has landed her numerous adventures to make the most successful piece possible, including six months on an art train and graduate work in Washington, DC. Allison even spent 6 weeks in Berlin on residency, where she ultimately came up with the vessel series depicted below. By bringing only the necessities and cheap, lightweight supplies, she managed to free herself of material and fear through another simple notion: packing light. 

While Allison learned a lot from her travels, she credits her biggest inspiration to having her son. Before Henry (17 mo.) was born, Allison recalls making work that was criticized for being "contrived" or "too pretty," attributes she suspects were due to an overall fear to take chances. Since becoming a mother, she tends not to treat the canvas so preciously and instead refuses to obsess over details in order to embrace the authenticity of mistakes. 

"It is hard work to make a good painting, and that hard work should show," says Allison as her decisions speak from within her work. Having limited time at her studio in the West Loop, she tries to be deliberate and fearless. She does this in order to make time away from Henry meaningful and to be someone he can admire, making time to make work that both he and she can be proud of.

Allison's work teeters the line between decorative object and fine art in order to question what purpose decoration has in function and concept. She uses patterns found in upholstery and interior design, laboriously painting them to contrast their traditionally domestic context in a traditionally refined medium. Her work challenges the medium itself by, "transforming a surface into something other than what can be defined by its physical properties."

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written by Leah Ball | edited by Jessica Mazza