Despite being a third year Fine Art student at Loughborough University, Alyssa Dabbs has already been represented by international galleries, sold her work worldwide and appeared in Vogue.
She works on a large scale, creating bold, expressive marks which give the paintings character and movement.
Her work is often representational of her feelings and surroundings and she draws inspiration from everything, from colours to sounds.
“Working on a larger scale allows my marks to become free flowing and expressive. It enables me to use my whole body to create the marks instead of just my hands and fingers, creating a more dynamic painting”
As an emerging artist, represented by Oxford’s Lizzie Collins of Zuleika Gallery, her latest exhibition Subconscious Realism opens at The Sewell Gallery in Radley on Saturday January 11.
Curator Amanda Jewell said: “We are exhibiting Alyssa Dabbs because she is a young artist and student whose work is already accomplished, but full of youthful energy and optimism. A fresh green shoot for a new year and a new decade.”
So what of the artist herself? Alyssa says that “while paying particular attention to the decisions that I make whilst painting I have concluded that my work and style of painting lends itself to the ‘gestural brushstrokes’ and ‘spontaneous mark making’ that characterises Abstract Expressionism.
“My practice is primarily focused on the expressive marks that I make.”
She is inspired by action painters such as Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler and Willem de Kooning, alongside contemporary artists such as Fiona Rae and Julie Mehretu.
Alyssa continues: “My paintings are a reflection on now, documenting the unconscious, capturing emotions and feelings through choice of colour and expressive mark making.
Painting on huge canvases is another of her characteristics: “I often experiment with scale in order to explore whether the size of the canvas affects the expressivity of the marks made,” Alyssa explains.
“Working on a larger scale allows my marks to become free flowing and expressive. It enables me to use my whole body to create the marks instead of just my hands and fingers, creating a more dynamic painting where the marks are much larger and more visually striking.
As for her method, Alyssa even makes her own brushes: “In order to increase the variety of marks on my canvas, I often experiment with different tools and began making my own brushes with detachable ends and extra-long attachments. This has allowed my marks to become automatic and unknown.
“I work with these unconscious and unknown marks back and forth to build the canvas. I also create variety in my marks through methods such as using my non-dominant hand and painting with different orientations, sometimes using the floor and other times twisting and turning the canvas and working from a height.
Sewell Centre Gallery curator Amanda continues: “We are committed to supporting young artists, as well as established artists, and always looking for an opportunity to showcase new talent.” They have certainly found some in Alyssa.
Subconscious Realism – painting by Alyssa Dabbs, Sewell Centre Gallery, Radley College, OX14 2HR. January 11-February 13, Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm. Closed January 24-27. Please report to Reception on arrival.