“Teeming” is comprised of a variety of oil paintings, many from Green’s newest series, “String Theory.” Painted in intricate detail against brightly hued backgrounds, this body of work is based on the activities of African finches—tiny birds that create their own distinct homes. These bulbous nests, woven from knotted papyrus, vines, grass, and lattice-like meshes of various fibers, are created by the males of the species in an admirable, and sometimes futile, quest for a mate: only the female can decide upon a nest’s suitability, and if he fails and is rejected, he must begin all over again. These birds’ strange, almost unimaginable, constructions are seen in various stages of development in works such as Dream Weavers (Gold), Dream Weavers (Blush), and String Theory (Green) (all 2014). In Green’s hands, the finches’ creative actions have a three-pronged symbolism: they point towards the ability of any creature to influence its own destiny, they echo the concept of artistic action and impulse that is implied by the weaving itself, and they tell a sweet and striking story of the power of femininity.
In addition to “String Theory,” Green presents a body of work exploring the mortality of flowers through the seasons. Again using monochromatic backgrounds, she paints her subjects in vivid detail. One mighty flower reaches towards the nurturing springtime bees on each side of the diptych Pollinate Me (2014). A bouquet of sunflowers blooms and browns in Summer Sunflowers (2013) and Autumn Sunflowers (2013), at first triumphant and then deflated. Initially appearing somewhat decorative, it becomes clear that Green’s works are deeply and consistently metaphorical, as they explore themes of life, death, creativity, and change.
“Teeming: New Paintings by Allison Green” is on view at Susan Eley Fine Art, New York, Apr. 2–May 14, 2015.