We wonder how an artist comes to art. When Allison Hyde was in high school, her dog would run away regularly, ending up at the house of Washington artist Patrick Haskett. Her mother showed her Haskett Hyde’s sketchbook, and the artist offered her painting lessons. Hyde recalls that it was Haskett’s mentorship and enthusiasm for printmaking and painting that inspired her to pursue an art career.
Since receiving her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Oregon in 2011, her work has been included in a number of West Coast exhibitions including those at Gallery 110 and Form/Space Atelier in Seattle; and the 10th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum in 2012. This exhibition was significant for Hyde not because she had only been out of school a year when the regional survey show included her, but because, for the exhibition, the printmaker created a large-scale installation.
Until graduate school Hyde worked almost exclusively in two dimensions. At the University of Oregon she started making small sculptural pieces alongside her print work. She began to use the sculptures as inspiration for, and counterpoint to, her prints. Over time the sculptures began to grow into larger-scale installation pieces. Mourning the Ephemeral was an arrangement, an elaborate pile of blackened and charred furniture, frames, boxes, and cast glass. Part of her thesis show in 2011, it took on a new form in the Museum’s outdoor enclosed exhibition space.
It was not the first time Hyde’s work dealt with fire and loss. In fact, it is a recurring theme in her haunting prints that not only memorialize that which is lost or damaged through fire (presumably as a metaphor for generalized loss) but also have actually incorporated ash and charcoal dust.. Hyde’s family suffered a devastating house fire when she was a child, and she based her series of prints from videos of her family living in the home before the fire. “My reflection of that time in my life is now singed with the memory of the house fire, and therefore I created the images with the material of such destruction.”
Hyde uses photographs, possessions, and physical traces of the past she says, to “relate to people in a way that calls to mind broader sense of the interconnectivity between the memories that we all experience.”
In 2013, Hyde had her first major solo exhibition at the Janet Turner Print Museum in Chico, CA. The exhibition was the result of Hyde winning the top award from that institution’s juried print exhibition the previous year. At the same time, in Chico last year, Hyde had an exhibition at 1078 Gallery that she credits with pushing her work in new directions. This new direction is embodied by Echo, a large-scale piece for which she pulled relief prints directly from the floor of an old, abandoned house. That process inspired her to continue printing from the surfaces of old wood floors and surfaces and will be the subject of her inquiry supported by the Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship.
This year Hyde will have a solo exhibition, Absent Shadows, at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association in Roseberg, OR. Hyde directs the LaVerne Krause Gallery at the University of Oregon in Eugene and is an instructor of printmaking, painting and drawing at The Craft Center at the University.