All We Are is Dust….

imageInside of every vacuum lies a masterpiece, waiting to be discovered by Allison Cortson.  In her “Dust Paintings” series, she uses dust she finds in peoples homes, to bring back to life some of the many moments of life where the dust was first created.

Dust: What’s left behind in the the wake of our ordinary lives. The pollen let in door during our comings and goings; face powder, industrial emissions, bug droppings, and, yes, flakes of human skin. Each spec like a tiny cairn to our existence. The remains of the everyday.image

And it’s every day life that Cortson recreates in her paintings. Her subjects are depicted in their own environments, including some of the rooms where the dust in question might come from.  People sitting on their beds, singing on stage, running through fields, ascending stair cases. They pop forth from the canvas in vivacious colors, in stark relief to the grey backgrounds, in the same way that a face or a memory will, for an instant, flash brilliantly in the front of your mind.

imageThere is something vulnerable about displaying, and celebrating, for all the world to see, what you would otherwise sweep under the rug. It seems only fitting that this extension of you should be used to tell your own story. As s a result, the paintings are immediate, accessible, vulnerable, wistful and, ultimately, human.  And despite the acrylic paint that anchors the dust forever in the form of the memory, there is the feeling that at any moment, they could all blow away.




Alison Cortson is a  Santa Monica-born, L.A.-based artist. View more of her work at