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Bonnie MacAllister, artist

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"Fins of Fury" (2012)

As Bonnie MacAllister closes her solo multimedia show Spectacle at Imperfect Gallery in Philadelphia April 27, she shares with LFF about shifting between mediums, her recent series of photographs documenting dancers in different countries, her feminist activism and being interviewed for Riot Grrrl: The Self Told Narrative film, Certain Circuits, her new venture and more!…

Background/from PA? born, Doylestown, PA.  educated: BA, Albright College, Reading, PA (1999); studied abroad at Université de Paris, Sorbonne & Paris VIII (studied under Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, & Agnès Varda) (1997-1998), M.Ed. from Temple University (2008), Fulbright-Hays to Ethiopia (2009); Lived in Philadelphia since 1999.

How’d you get into art?
I was always writing and making things and trouble as a young girl.  My favorite mediums as a teen were zines and performance.  At Albright, I favored sculpture and photography.  At the age of 23, I became more serious about painting.  These days I am still a medium shifter:  incorporating installations of fiber art, photography, paintings, and performance.

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"Ethiopian Girl" (2009)

Tell me about your work/style/inspirations.

My recent work concerns documenting dance across continents.  I take Holga and digital photographs, print them on aluminum through four channels of dye, creating a 3D piece best viewed with 1960s vintage glasses.   I’ve also incorporated a layer of digital embroidery, transferring the image onto silk with embroidery thread, rendering the same image into a softer form. I am a constant knitter, and I create round sculptural wearables as well as knit bombed earrings.  My paintings involved layering of watercolor, goache, oil, pigment, and paper to create figurative and abstract images.

Does feminism play a role in your work?

I’ve been involved in feminist activism and organizing since the early 1990s, and my performance work has always been feminist in themes.  I had the only all female identified artists radio show during on WXAC 91.3 Albright College radio at the time.  I began organizing all women’s shows on campus, djed at the girL parties in my 20s in Philadelphia, and wrote and performed feminist burlesque at DIY independent venues. I won prizes in the U.S. and France in slams for feminist themed performance art.  Since 2003, I have taught workshops, spoken as a feature speaker, curated all women’s art shows, performed at venues such as NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) and the Sandy Spring Museum), and served on boards as part of the Young Women’s Caucus and the Women’s Caucus for Art.  I recently was interviewed with my band, Dental Dames (dentaldamesband.tumblr.com) for the documentary, Riot Grrrl: The Self Told Narrative (dir. Vega Darling and Angie Young.)  It’s important to be collaborative and inclusive, and this project is revealing many of the untold stories of the riot grrrl movement.  We created a performance piece called “Tell Your Truth” as part of a conference and fundraiser for the film.  Every woman who attended and drafted a response became a writer of the song.

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"Becoming Meat" (2002)
What’s your latest project/what are you excited about right now/want to promote?

A multimedia collaborative and cross-genre site I curate with my friend Lora Bloom.  We edited two crowd funded print volumes featuring artists from several continents (countries include Brazil, England, India, Ireland, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Oman, United States, Uruguay).  The last issue was curated into the National Library of Australia.
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Keep up with Bonnie at
bonniemacallister.com or http://bonnie-macallister.blogspot.com/.
Follow Bonnie on Twitter! - @bonniemacart