Alison Pullen is well known for her compelling paintings of opulent interiors. For her new collection showing at Sarah Wiseman Gallery in May 2017, visitors to the gallery can expect to see new paintings made at a variety of historic locations around Oxford; from the spectacular Blenheim Palace to the tiny hidden Bartlemas Chapel, and the world famous Sheldonian Theatre and Oxford University Botanic Garden.
Using collage, Alison begins each painting by flipping through hundreds of pages of interior magazines in search of images to use as a background, on top of which she will paint the scene in front of her.
‘I love collage because in using it you already have something that needs changing,’ she explains. ‘I use whole scenes which are a reference to another place or space. I am in control of the process and yet, I am not.’
Alison takes the viewer behind the scenes of little known rooms and private spaces. She picks out details, such as drapes and ceiling cornicing using a bone-matt gouache paint, allowing glossy imagery from the magazine pages below to shine through. The result is a beautiful, almost abstract image of an interior. ‘The painting of a room is like a portrait of the person who owns it. That’s what’s important’, she says.
Osterley Park House, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Fulham Palace are among the auspicious locations settings for previous work. She was commissioned to paint at Buckingham Palace, where she made a series of paintings in the Throne Room, some of which are now in the Royal Collection.
In the more intimate setting of domestic interiors, Alison has painted numerous commissions for private clients. ‘I am always happy to do something challenging. I think I have a particular affinity with interiors because they are so personal. In the paintings of historic houses, I am inspired by the thought of all the people who lived there, and what has happened in those people’s lives in those rooms. Like layers of wallpaper, each person has left their mark in the room.’