Alison Moritsugu was born and raised in Hawaii and left the islands after highschool. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, she earned a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York. On return visits to Hawaii, she noticed the drastic changes to the local landscape. These observations informed her most recent series, Paradise Revisited. In these works, she uses Hawaii’s most invasive plants for decorative wallpaper, paints scenes of the very last pineapple and sugarcane fields, and creates objects which combine ancient culture with European motifs and tourist souvenirs in order to explore the concept of ’paradise.’ Although Hawaii is the world’s most isolated archipelago, changes occurring to these islands are indicative of the changes affecting all our personal paradises.
Her ongoing series of log paintings examines contrivances in landscape paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries. These landscapes, by artists such as Bierstadt and Church, were deeply rooted in the political constructs of the time and depicted the land as a bountiful Eden, a limitless frontier that seemed to await man’s eventual conquest. Moritsugu takes these images out of a familiar context and contrasts them with real wood and bark, to show that the very idea of landscape implies a human dominance.
Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, HI; Judy Ann Goldman Fine Art, MA; Littlejohn Contemporary, NY; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI and the Knoxville Museum of Art, TN. Group exhibitions have included the Palmer Museum, Pennsylvania State University, PA; Maier Museum of Art, VA; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, VA; Art Museum at Florida International University, FL; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, MO; Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY and Wave Hill’s Glyndor Gallery, NY.
She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Painting Fellowship and has participated in residencies at the Cité International des Arts, Paris; Yaddo, NY; MacDowell Colony for the Arts, NH; Djerassi Resident Artists Program, CA; the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, NY and the Artist in the Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum of Art.