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Allison Reynolds

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Allison Reynolds is a disabled artist who lives in the Pilliga, north of Coonabarabran on Gamilaroi Country. Allison is the founder and current president of Creatives Collective ARI, a disabled artists’ group in Coonabarabran.

Stage One

Tell us about the evolution of your concept through this creative development process.

My concept started as a response to the reference to the words “futures” and our area’s theme “post-carbon” and how I saw that there was a huge gap between people seeing a Solar Punk future (all green, shiny, and perfect) and the end of using fossil fuels. These words that reference time triggered my desire to create a work that covered distinct epochs. Now – short time in the future – far future. In the scope of the work for the Regional Futures project I was going to only focus on the short term future, but with the opportunity to take the work to exhibition in 2024, I have fully envisioned the triptych.

Initially I had hoped to be able to incorporate the work of the other artists in the group, into the work as a nod to their parts in the new future and the idea that it will be a truly collaborative effort,  to let go of the self and look to us as a species to make the hard changes that need to be made. However, members of the group were not necessarily comfortable with this approach.

I have adjusted my work to still be layer-based but using ephemera from regional areas, repurposed printed material, repurposed materials. The work will be abstract expressionism at this time of turmoil and change very much harkens back to the conditions that birthed ‘abex’ (abstract expressionism) as an artform.

What experts/community members did you connect with during your creative development?

I had contact with – local farmers who are looking at alternative energy for their farms – disabled people in the regions (who very much believe their voices are not heard) – local environmentalists who see the regions as a changing landscape that will continue to change as weather effects change – local and regional Aboriginal people – who (amongst other things) see the individualism in our society as detrimental, and that how we see the future is very different to how they approach it (going forward by looking back) – other artists – who feel the weight and anxiety about the future. I also polled disabled artists and writers about what they see as what they can add to the future.

“The networking with other Regional Artists is self-driven, but having a large group of people outside your region to reach out to is very hopeful and will make some interesting opportunities in the future.”

– Allison Reynolds

Describe where your work has reached in the development process and how you can see it progressing.

I have imagined, researched, and finalised (as much as you can lol) on what I want the works to looks like. Now I am working on models to develop the process I want to see – as well as working on pulling apart the large solar panels that I will be using to frame the works. This has incorporated research into how to delaminate solar panels, differing adhesives, and paper types.

I have paid someone to pick up bulk amounts of farming brochures from Aqquip last week, and have sourced vintage maps and brochures of regional tourism.

If you were to tell someone about the impact of Regional Futures and this creative development opportunity on your practice, what would you say to them?

As a project driven artist I have found it interesting to listen to others on how they are approaching the same ‘brief’. It has also been instructive in working with others who have strong opinions and their own ways of doing things, and deciding whether I had a place within their more mature practices.

I would tell others that ‘collaboration is difficult for some people and that a rejection of working with you, is not a rejection of you or your work, just a different view of ensuring everyone’s voice is heard’.

The networking with other Regional Artists is self-driven, but having a large group of people outside of your region to reach out to is very helpful and will make for some interesting opportunities in the future.

Recent or Upcoming Exhibitions Fill 1 Copy 4 Created with Sketch.

Regional Futures, (2023), Group Exhibtion, Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree, NSW, March