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Alison Hand - The Open College of the Arts

Alison Hand

I work across painting and drawing and I graduated with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, after completing a BA in Fine Art at Cardiff.

I am the BA Programme Leader at Art Academy London, where I teach painting, drawing, and studio practice, and run the final year and degree show. I am also a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, and last year taught in Shanghai. My focus as an educator is to find out what really motivates each student, what it is they want to make, and what genuinely drives them.

My own practice explores structure, architecture, and landscape, combining scenes from romantic and classical painting with hybrid objects, piles of tyres and rubble, fire and smoke and impossible scaffolding. I am interested in the definitions of architecture and the vernacular edifices that we make. Heterotopic places which slide between building site, wilderness, barricade, bonfire, scrapyard. I think of painting as a conversation between surface and depth, between the illusory and the object, and forwards and backwards through history. I like the oscillation of materials, the multiple meanings that paint can simultaneously hold, such as spray paint which I use both as a delicate un-solid grid and as a signifier of graffiti or defacement.

Currently a key research interest is site-specific painting, investigating how architecture itself can become a surface for painting. Most recently I was invited to work in a derelict house as part of an exhibition, responding directly to the architecture with painted vignettes. I also love curating, and in 2019 devised and curated a large group exhibition on interdisciplinary drawing practices entitled ‘The Speed of Thought’, which brought together artists, architects, geologists, composers, and fashion designers, which was jointly funded by the Royal College of Art and the Art Academy.

My work has won awards including the Basil Alkazzi Scholarship Award; the Gordon Luton Award from the Painters’ and Stainers’ Guild; and the Stevenson Harwood Award. I have recently exhibited at ASC Gallery, Lubimirov Angus Hughes Gallery, and the Centre for Recent Drawing.
Research and writing is also important, and I was previously a board member for Cumbrian arts and research organisation Artgene, who specialise in landscape and regeneration projects. I undertook a writers’ residency for Abstract Critical journal, and doctoral research into relationships between art and architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

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