Alison Moyers on Female gaze: Exploring Stardom, Vanity, and Excess

Allison Moyers is an oil painter and multi-disciplinary artist from Texas. She studied art and design in France where she received her degree in Fine Arts and graduated with honors from ESAD de Valenciennes in 2015. When she finished her studies she and her husband moved back to the United States. She now lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona. Moyers work is greatly influenced by her grandmother, an oil painter, and her mother, who introduced her to the magic of old films. Allison’s work explores the subject of stardom, vanity, and excess within society, focusing on women and the feminine. Her work is inspired by European romanticism and often features dreamlike environments that express hidden and forbidden emotions. Moyer paints from her experiences as a woman to offer a unique perspective on the complexities of the female experience.

La Morte et Le Printemps

1. Allison your Mad Girls Love Collection looks nothing less than a movie portrait, stirring emotions and transforming me into a fictional world. Can you share what stories the pictures convey?

A Mad Girl’s Love Song is an art collection inspired by the female icon. The series expresses my emotions through the familiar beauty of starlets’ faces. Reflections through a cinematic screen project a beautifully broken and twisted world of fictional personalities in a dreamlike space. Nostalgia within the present brings heavy emotions of western society’s vice, addiction, and decline. With the contemporary world being transformed daily through virtual reality, I asked myself; where does the artist fit in? I believe that now more than ever, the ideals of art, beauty, and poetry are necessary to elevate a society that has lost its way. The women in my paintings reveal their vulnerability through elements of tragedy and poetry. Wounded, they search for meaning where reason is lost. These works explore themes of unrequited love, heartbreak, and impossible romance. Each piece is a fragmented story that encourages the spectator to develop their narrative around it. The images perplex to create unease and desire. There is a feeling that time is suspended a moment before or after something daunting occurs.

2. Your portraits are breathtaking, taking me on a roller coaster of emotions. Allison, what led you to express yourself through art?

 My innate desire to create led me to explore many different artistic paths, and eventually, I found my passion in oil painting. I tend to lose myself in my work. When I’m painting, the noise turns off in my head. The creative experience is meditative and spiritual for me.

There were many occasions when I felt like I was swimming upstream and even encouraged to give up on my dream.

3. You studied art history and language in Belgium and then continued your education in Paris, France, and finally graduated from France. How do you think this shaped you as the artist you are today?

My experience studying in France was life-changing, and I wouldn’t be where I am as an artist if I had another experience. The biggest lessons I learned were humility and perseverance. Being surrounded by so much history and culture was intimidating and inspiring. After working as an Au Pair for a year, I enrolled in a preparatory art school. I was thrust into the intense Parisienne art scene while struggling with the language. There were many occasions when I felt like I was swimming upstream and even encouraged to give up on my dream. Fortunately, I had a few professors who believed in me and continued to push me to achieve what I thought was impossible. The following year I was welcomed into a small community of artists at a school in Valenciennes, France. In 2015 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine art.

Duchamp at my window

4. Allison your paintings are truly a cinematic experience. The portrayal of the beauty and strength of the feminine character leaves me speechless. What inspires you to develop ideas for characters and scenes for your paintings?

Women and the feminine have always inspired me. While exploring the museums of Europe, I found myself drawn to the portrayal of the female figure. I was in love with the goddess-like nature of women portrayed in the ancient past and their transition through the modernist years to a more realistic version of the feminine. Yet, I couldn’t help but notice the missing nuance of the female artist’s perspective. I wanted to find a way to connect the rich history of western art to my experience as a woman. I wanted my work to reflect upon the beauty and strength of the feminine unlimited by the negative contemporary response to the male gaze. I then began to question desire and human experience that long for the unattainable. I eventually turned to a cinematic narrative for my inspiration: mesmerizing images of old Hollywood that connect me to my American upbringing. I loved the aesthetic that cinema brought to my work, and our culture’s visceral reaction to its perfectionism adds a deeper meaning. The rejection and destruction of the feminine ideal have reinvigorated my desire to present femininity as a strength: something to accept and embrace. I enjoy playing with the dramatization of masculine and feminine dynamics found in cinematic narratives. The male as the artist and the female as the specimen inspires voyeurism in my pieces. It is important to me that the male regard as a role reversal is present in my paintings to counter the cliche of a female spectator. The idea that the male persona is outside of the artwork fascinates me. I like to think there is a looming male presence in most of my pieces where women are the subjects.

I loved the aesthetic that cinema brought to my work, and our culture’s visceral reaction to its perfectionism adds a deeper meaning.

Classic literature and poetry are also a part of my work. Historically we have told stories of the past through painting. My work continues that story by revisiting the past through the present. I use my art as a stage to express the heartbreak of love, the desire for an unattainable image, and what it feels like to be a woman.

5. Allison, are you currently exhibiting any of your creations in any local galleries or online platforms? Can you share details with our readers?

My work is currently a part of Goddess Arts Magazines Issue 7 and in their blog under Portraying the Women Inside of me. I was also recently a part of Juniper Rag’s virtual exhibition: Darkness. I have some affordable works at Art One Gallery located in Scottsdale Arizona. I am also working on a solo exhibition entitled Pieces of a Dream that is opening May 2023 at Sisao Gallery in downtown Phoenix.

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