Art by Alison Skelton, B.F.A.
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One"Love is a creative force, a magical one. Art is alchemy: the transformation of the raw material into gold, and I am transformed and re-defined with every new creation."

As a child I was exposed to the Arts at an early age, and grew up in an environment rich in appreciation for the artists and writers that were a part of my family life. I was always encouraged to explore my creative self and had my first solo exhibition at the age of seventeen. I enrolled in the Visual Arts department at the University of Victoria in the fall of 1977.

My primary field of study was intaglio printmaking, which I studied under Pat Martin Bates who, along with my parents, was a member of the Society of Limners, a group of artists that has always been a strong presence in my life. In addition to printmaking I studied painting, sculpture, and drawing as well as pursuing an interest in writing poetry. I received my degree - Bachelor of Fine Arts, First Class Honours - in the spring of 1983.

TwoIn 1984 I moved to London England where I lived, studied, worked and exhibited until 1987 when I returned to Victoria. I continued to work in mixed media printmaking and to exhibit my work periodically in group and solo exhibitions. Over the years I have developed a love of teaching and have designed and taught a number of classes and workshops designed to discover the inner muse, and encourage others to explore their creative potential and vision through the personal symbolism of the subconscious.

ThreeIn 1994 I was commissioned to paint ten portraits of women and I chose as subjects the women in my life with whom I felt a strong spiritual bond: the co- founders of the Thirteenth House Mystery School tradition. The resulting works , and those that have followed, are mixed media collages with layers of colour, texture, and symbol, representing the healing, strength and love that I draw from the magical relationships in my life.

I believe there is a moment, an alchemical reaction between the artist and the creation, when the magical bond is made manifest, when the subject and the art become a part of the Self. In portraiture, this moment is like falling in love: a point of recognition, when I realize that what I am making is a self portrait as well as a portrait of the loved one.

When my love manifests as art, the alchemy is a healing and strengthening one. In a sense all of these portraits represent aspects of myself, reflected in and by my love for and spiritual bond with my subjects. I was, however acutely aware when I came to approach my own likeness, that this alchemy was charged with a potent and daunting energy. There is no hiding behind another's visage.



View more samples of Alison's mixed-media artwork
Please click on a thumbnail for a larger view
4 Gals
Arms, 2002
Sofia
Sophia Angela, 1999

Dakini
Dakini, 1997

Lamia
Lamia, 1994
Acca Larentia

Acca Larentia, 1995

Stella Maris

Stella Maris, 1996

Flidhais
Flidhais, 1997


An excerpt from a review in Artichoke Magazine (1997 Volume 9 Number 3):

"Although of individuals, real subjects, the portraits are accessible and universal as far as the issues they address. Skelton accomplishes this by combining geometric structures, implying a sense of order in a chaotic world, with organic forms suggesting growth and evolution.

"Though revealed through the likeness of human subjects, the true theme of these portraits is actually the collage of ideas which colour perceptions and beliefs, setting up relational dynamics and propelling personal and collective events. Priestesses and other portraits explores the varied origins of the primary spiritual and philosophical forms by which we structure our world.

"Further, through the use of glyphs and the abstract, universal visual language of form, Skelton suggests communication. Her choice of mixed media collage as a vehicle implies the possibility of hidden messages, partially obscured from view by our lack of understanding of other cultures and spiritual systems. She cross-references historical and mythical imagery, staying outside the volatile context of politics and religion. These portraits are multi-cultural iconographies of female magic, with both a historical and contemporary symbolic lexicon."

Yvonne Owens, Victoria, 1997