After living in San Francisco for 30 years, in a post-pandemic dimensional shift, Alison Pebworth took to the road exploring artist residency after artist residency (including the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire), before she landed in the Berkshires. After staying with her nephew for a short while, she settled into a small cabin in the woods, experiencing the complete opposite to the residencies: solitude and meditation.
Here she undertook a personal journey, pointing inward, turning out deeply contemplative drawings. Eventually came the first tilt of the pendulum that led Pebworth down a rabbit hole of synchronicity, where events unfolded towards her residency at MASS MoCA in a most unusual and serendipitous way: she was invited to a dinner where MASS MoCA Director Kristy Edmunds happened to be one of the guests. She and Pebworth began to talk, and Edmunds was drawn to the artist’s authorship of vision: Pebworth was invited to work on a site- specific piece for the museum.
Although Pebworth’s current work and the work of recent years has been experiential, large-scale constructions with a lacing of performance, she spent 15 years as a painter in the mid-1980s up to 2001. Conceptually surreal, almost photo- realistic (if you are living in an alternative dimension), full of pathos and atmosphere, the paintings are present-day medieval observations and compositions. As well received as they were, (including by this writer), she describes that time as being very isolated and cloistered. She spent the time as if in a cocoon waiting for the moment she could emerge out of what felt very confining. As she looks back, she realizes that these works were a devotion, and left them to pursue what to the artist is a much less tortuous path, one in which she needs no labels: making things, building environments, bringing the forts of her childhood into the manifestation as an adult.