Allie Webb is a Sydney-based artist who just so happens to be very good at turning lino blocks into projections of nighttime’s past and palatable dishes (fitting that she got her start in the art world by drawing for Mars bars). With a monochrome approach, her work is anything but minimal — the details of curled prawns, whipped creams, splashy olives, shimmering wines and date night smiles inform her stories, as well as lighting old flames for viewers.
Allie’s solo show ‘A Midsummer’s Night’ opens this Friday at China Heights in Sydney, and to mark the occasion we got to know Allie a little better. If you can’t make it to see her work IRL, you can check her catalogue online here. Now, take it away Allie…
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Eltham, Melbourne and now live in Sydney.
What were you into in high school?
Not much has changed, I was always going to art galleries on the weekends and spent lunch breaks trying to draw and paint as much as I could. Also, a curious obsession with birds. I used to have pet budgies, cockatiels and even trained an Indian Myna to hang out with.
In what ways have you changed since then?
I used to be quite a loner!
Do you remember the first time you realised you were good at creative stuff? What did you first make?
Yes, I remember in grade one I made this realistic plasticine red rose and thought I was an absolute genius. Then winning drawing competitions all through primary school. The grand prize was usually a Mars bar — an EPIC award back then.
Where is your favourite place to work?
Always at my studio in Darlinghurst. I love having all my tools and drawing material near by, having a dedicated time for working creatively is important. I get too distracted with lots of people around or out of my zone.
What’s the best work you’ve ever made?
The best is always the most meaningful work to me. I like a new one I’ve made ‘Before the Guests Arrive’ it was one of the biggest I’ve made so there is a lot of room for mistakes but I’m very happy with it.
What’s the best work someone else has ever made?
I love ‘The Street’ by Balthus. His paintings are always so intriguing and can be quite disturbing. I love how you can create your own narrative to that painting in particular. Like, what the hell is going on with that boy attacking the girl and the two creepy children.
You work off night time scenes — if you could pick five fantasy dinner party guests to sit in on and paint, who would they be?
I think if I could just sit in the film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and Her Lover and paint any of those dinner scenes. Very unsettling.
If you could stay a certain age forever what would it be and why?
Twenty six: you’re more comfortable in your skin and have learned from stupid mistakes, yet you haven’t settled on a certain path. It feels very exciting and free for experimentation.
What scares you most?
Best piece of advice you ever received?
I can’t remember.
Best Youtube clip you’ve ever seen?
Hey Mister Snake. It’s a video of a lady harassing a snake with an ending that shouldn’t be as surprising as it is.
What’s on rotation on your soundcloud at the moment?
Wire, Mount Kimbie, Todd Rundgren, Kate Bush, Cat Power, Joni Mitchell
Finally — tell us about your show at China Heights! What are you showing and whats the story behind them?
It’s called A Midsummer’s Night and around 28 monochrome linocuts are included. Many of them unique prints of just one. Much of it is drawn from memories of a recent trip to Italy and a celebration of daily life with a focus around the dining table. I’m interested in observing relationships, symbolism found in objects and the many rituals associated with food. The prints are flat, black, and bold. They draw inspiration from facets of German Expressionism, pop and Momento Mori still life paintings.
Images: Courtesy Allie Webb / China Heights