Allie Wilkinson’s ’11 artwork, she says, is all about humanity. She discussed her exhibit “Within,” which is filled with ink and graphite pieces ranging from a portrait of her friends to a horizontal depiction of DNA yesterday afternoon in the Lamarche Gallery. 

“My art really focuses around the things that we share as human,” said Wilkinson. “Whatever political views or differences we have, we all love, we all have fears, we are all insecure. It’s what unites us. I think that’s where art has the potential to be very profound.”

Wilkinson’s father is a sculptor and although she grew up surrounded by art in New York City, it wasn’t until she took a drawing course during her first year at Bowdoin that she realized she wanted to pursue art as a career. 

“I’ve been making art my whole life, but it really took off here,” said Wilkinson at her talk. 

Through her professors and her senior studio, Wilkinson learned lessons about perseverance and the importance of continuing to make art regardless of circumstance. 

“Motivation is a lie. Motivation is not going to strike you and come out of the sky and motivate you for the rest of your life,” said Wilkinson. “That message to keep going and keep persisting was really valuable to me.”

After graduating with an interdisciplinary art history and visual arts major, Wilkinson soon became discouraged with the professional art spheres. She put art on hold and began teaching English in France. However, she eventually decided she needed an outlet for creative expression and began to draw portraits of her friends. 

Wilkinson continued to draw portraits and produced a collection of nine portraits of her friends in 2016. The collection, titled “Hiding,” is on display in the Lamarche Gallery as part of “Within.”  In it, she used colored ink for the first time and found that she enjoyed the medium. 

Wilkinson primarily works with ink and on denril, a type of paper generally used by architects. All of the pieces showcased in exhibit are done on denril. 

One of the pieces, called “Connect,” was created specifically for the Lamarche Gallery and is the first piece Wilkinson has done horizontally. “Connect” features a strand of multi-colored DNA on two layered sheets of paper. 

“All of my pieces are very rooted in the figure,” said Wilkinson. “[DNA]  just seemed like a great thing to explore abstractly.”

Two of the other works of art shown in the Gallery,  “Fall” and “Rise,” were done in 2014 using graphite and ink on denril. The pieces are influenced by some of the work Wilkinson did at Bowdoin. During her senior year, she had a solo art show in the Visual Arts Center called “Wanting.” It featured large pieces of paper with two figures, one drawn in Sharpie and the other obscured behind it, similar to the figures explored in “Fall” and “Rise.”  

Like many of her pieces, “Fall” and “Rise” capture the human experience and examine the ways in which we hide from ourselves and others. 

“I made them at a point in my life where I felt like there was a disconnect between what I was showing the world and what was going on inside me,” said Wilkinson. “I think that’s something a lot of people experience and I wanted to capture that with these pieces.”