Scrolls Surviving a Fearful Age
Detail panel, Scroll II, 26"x104", 1983-87
Watercolor, gold leaf and ink on paper with silk paper and wood.
© Alice Dubiel
I believe that the Western landscape tradition effectively distances the viewer (who is characteristically middle and upper class) from the outdoors and other people. Works such as Virgil's evocation of country life in The Georgics or the landscape paintings of Poussin are the product of both rising imperialism and an urban society. The allure of "simple country life" and its cult of authenticity draws present-day middle class Americans to wilderness preservation as much as to suburbia. We can reclaim our cities and make them livable first by acknowledging our rage, our desire to escape the banality and oppression of our lives. By offering resources for viewers, I want to support efforts at dynamic urban solutions to the perceived agricultural crisis. (The Landscape Tale, from "Agriculture: An Alchemical Treatise," an installation exhibited at 911 Media Arts Center, Seattle, 1994.)
Alice Dubiel lives and works in Seattle, Washington. She has exhibited nationally and especially throughout the Pacific states during the past 17 years. Born in Berkeley, California, she received a master's in painting from San Jose State University and a BA in English literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She pursued graduate literature studies in critical theory at the University of California at Irvine. She has taught both English and art at a number of schools including Santa Monica College and the University of California at Irvine. In addition, Dubiel has received funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research on women's performance art.
Much of the artist's work is concerned with ecology and the politics of representation. The watercolor scrolls installation, Apocalyptic Visions, has been exhibited at the University of Wisconsin; the Massachusetts State House; Ohlone College in Fremont, California; and in Los Angeles at Thinking Eye Gallery. Claire Accomando, writing about these scrolls in Artweek, noted, "Alice Dubiel addresses the issue of nuclear threat and environmental toxicity with a series of exquisite water colors that combine the fluid delicacy of Persian miniatures with the format of medieval illuminations."
Dubiel's bookworks have appeared in traveling exhibitions, including "Crosscurrents," Selby Gallery at the Ringling School of Art in Florida; University of California at Santa Barbara, Oregon School of Arts and Crafts; and "A Book in Hand," at the Arvada Center in Colorado and the Salem Art Center, Oregon. Other works have been exhibited at the Fresno Art Museum, Brand Library Art Gallery in Glendale, SOMAR Center in San Francisco, Southwestern College in Chula Vista and Humboldt State University, California. The watercolor installation, A Journey Within, has been shown at Intersection Gallery, San Francisco and Gallery 116 in Los Angeles. Other works have been shown in San Antonio and Edinburgh.
Locally, Alice Dubiel has collaborated with artists and community members on the installation Dreaming the Earth Whole, which was exhibited at the Seattle Art Festival, 1990, and the Tacoma Art Museum. The MOHAI "Illuminations" exhibition included another collaborative installation, Whispers in the Dark, in 1991, and in 1993 she exhibited The Landscape Tale in the windows at 911 Media Arts, Seattle. Since 1994 she has undertaken projects which function as visual components to community-based activities in land use issues. These projects have included a Metro bus shed with Lake Forest Park students and Watershrine installations at the Seattle Aquarium, Edmonds Community College and Carkeek Park, venues located in the artist's own watershed. Another project, Implode the Dome, also about community land use issues, has appeared in proposal form at Bumbershoot and in ArtPapers, published in Atlanta.
to "Apple" Essay
List of Artists
All images and text © Alice Dubiel.