Allison Rietta is a Canadian artist based in Toronto. Her abstract watercolour paintings and collages explore the contrasting dualities Rietta feels within herself: the urge both for control and for risk-taking, for precision and for embracing imperfection. The looseness and freedom of shape and line in one part of Rietta’s work is a response to the geometric and formal containment of the other. These two very different visual styles are integral to the meaning of her work: they represent a sense of tightness and elasticity, of tension and the moment of letting go.
These opposites are in constant dialogue during Rietta’s process of making. The controlled energy of creating precise circles and straight lines by hand on one surface bursts out into a plasticity of form on another. The repetitive layering of watercolour in her work requires time in its making by necessity, but it also allows space for new thoughts and creativity to emerge as she moves in between surfaces. This is a disrupting space: there is a pull between the one surface and the other which allows Rietta to accept imperfection in her pursuit of geometric precision.
Rietta’s work is informed by the practice of meditation through yoga. Sound is an integral part of the meaning in her art, and she likens that moment of letting go to the healing that begins in the silence after a sound bowl is struck. Her art is about the freedom we can find when we allow ourselves to break away from the self-imposed structures that contain us. It is an ever-evolving exploration of the relationship between form, shape, line and colour that comes from an intense curiosity and observation of patterns in nature; and in the ebb and flow, light and dark, order and chaos of the spaces around her. In this sense Rietta’s work expresses the uncertainty that comes from feeling the oppositional forces that exist in and around all of us.