Allison Schulnik

'Ominous, Crude Beauty'

Haunting and rife with a macabre sense of foreboding, the mesmerizing stop-motion clay animations of Allison Schulnik are simultaneously brimming with compassion, humor, and hope. Akin to “moving paintings,” Schulnik’s animations are characterized by colorful biomorphic misfits that emerge from the physical nature of her painting style in which thick pigments transform into three-dimensional figures. Ominous, Crude Beauty brings together all the artist’s video works to date. Non-narrative and psychedelic in tone, they encourage close attention to motion and sound as they avoid linear narratives and didactic interpretations.

Signature image for Allison Schulnik exhibition
Allison Schulnik, "Mound," 2011, video, 4 min. and 20 sec. Courtesy of the artist, P·P·O·W Gallery, and Mark Moore Fine Art.

Schulnik works as an animator, sculptor, and painter, transitioning seamlessly across various mediums, each of which informs her approach to the others. In addition to the artist’s animations, Ominous, Crude Beauty features a selection of Schulnik’s seductive impasto paintings, highly textured sculptures that bear palpable traces of the artist’s hand, and 131 drawings used to create the animation Mound (2011). Melding a deep sense of theatricality with intense emotional vulnerability, Schulnik’s honest, complex, and nostalgic work creates a dream space for us to contemplate creation, death, love, folly, and farce.

About the artist

Allison Schulnik’s (b. 1978, San Diego, Calif.) films have been featured in internationally renowned festivals and museums including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Annecy International Animated Film Festival, France; and Animafest Zagreb, Croatia. She received the award for Best Experimental Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Special Jury Prize at SXSW Film Festival. Schulnik has presented solo exhibitions at venues including the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.; Laguna Art Museum, Calif.; Oklahoma City Museum of Art; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kans.; Mark Moore Fine Art, Los Angeles; ZieherSmith, New York; and Galería Javier López & Fer Francés, Madrid. Her work is held in the collections of LACMA; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Santa Barbara Art Museum; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Laguna Art Museum; Crocker Art Museum; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; and Albright-Knox Gallery, among others. She lives and works in Sky Valley, Calif.

Install Views

Programs and events


Ominous, Crude Beauty is organized by SCAD Museum of Art adjunct curator DJ Hellerman.


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