Allison Bianco’s work explores the strange way nostalgia subtly rewrites memory so that recollections of the past become only partly true. Referencing Rhode Island iconography in many of the pieces, Bianco expresses a personal connection to her home state and its industrial, maritime, and coastal heritages. To add both humor and drama to these narrative prints, impending storms threaten fragile, unaware characters in their colorful scenes.
Zeppelin pictures a view of the small coastal community of Narragansett in southern Rhode Island. Using local landmarks from the present day and the past, the print provides a historical and contemporary view of the community and its vulnerability to natural disasters, particularly when storms invade the coast. Bianco imagines what Narragansett may look like after the ocean inevitably claims the land. Popular Rhode Island icons, the empty Industrial Trust building and Apex department store, stand in ambiguity and join the still-standing Towers in the coastal city.
Later that Day at Second Beach, set in Middletown, Rhode Island, features the weathered cliffs at shore’s edge below St. George School, diminished in the distance. Dramatic arched fireworks nod to Ando Hiroshige’s Fireworks over Ryogoku Bridge 1856-58. All but disappeared, Hiroshige’s images of Edo only live in the dreams of present day Tokyo. Throughout her work, Bianco creates a nostalgic longing for a Rhode Island that has passed, or possibly never existed as she remembers it at all.
Allison Bianco received her MFA in Printmaking (2010) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and her BA in Studio Art (2001) from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. In 2014, Bianco’s work was selected for a prestigious solo exhibition entitled The Baby Powder Trick, at The Print Center in Philadelphia as part of their 88th International Competition. Other recent exhibitions include New Prints: New Narratives/Summer 2013 and New Prints/Autumn 2013, International Print Center New York; and Locally Made, RISD Museum, RI. Bianco is a Keymember at the AS220 Community Printshop in Providence, RI and recently received the RISD Museum Purchase Prize from the AS220 Print Competition. She has attended residencies at the Honolulu Academy of Art, HI, and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Silver Spring, MD. Her work is held in collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; RISD Museum, RI; and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, HI, among others.