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The Artist

Alice Engel Levinson has been a North Carolina resident since 1973. In the spring 2000, she closed her practice of twenty-five years as a clinical psychologist to begin a new career as a visual artist.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries and juried exhibitions throughout the United States.

In the Durham Herald Sun, Alice’s work has been described as...

"…abstract quilted paintings of deep personal and universal faith... a symphony of color, technique, and art." (Blue Greenberg, January 2002).

How I work

Creating complex cloth

I am the daughter of a master seamstress and the grand-daughter of a tailor. Perhaps this explains my affinity to working with cloth, needle, and thread. Starting generally with white cloth, silk, cotton, canvas, I build a complex surface of color, image, and texture through dyeing, painting, or printing with fabric dyes and textile pigments and resists. These processes are applied and reapplied, layering one atop the other until a rich and ‘complex’ surface is achieved.

Building a piece

The fabric is cut or torn and their pieces e mixed and melded as I assemble my work. There is great pleasure in finding coherence among disparate elements. Often edges are left raw and unbound. All layers of stitching from basting to embellishment are visible documenting the process of construction.

Embracing the Process

My work process is intuitive and encourages spontaneity and experimentation. The studio is a joyful place. By nature, I am an observer, collecting impressions of people and the natural world. Observations lead to musings, scribbled phrases, and gestural sketches. These suggest themes, visual motifs, a palette. My intention in place, I reach for the cloth and then the magic begins.

Image, line, and pattern find their way though my hands into the work in a remarkable way. My task is to stay open and responsive to the ‘voice’ of the cloth. ‘Listening ‘ with my hands as well as my eyes, Working to allow a creative flow isn’t easy, but is rewarding when I succeed. Led by the materials and my intuitive response to them, I aim to embrace the process. The time for critical review, re-direction, and editing will come later. For me this is the hallmark of artmaking. The process is primary; the outcome, secondary. Most children are natural artists, engaging with their environment in a free, non-judging, creative manner. For the rest of us, the task is learning to relax the habit of critical thinking; an exercise I endorse and one I continue to practice.

Written text has often found its way into my cloth making. Sources from biblical text to modern Hebrew poetry inspire image and mark-making. Examples of this work can be found in the Of Jewish Interest portfolio page.

In Spring, 2013, I joined the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, a cooperative gallery ownedand operated by twenty-two local artists, a lively creative community. Come visit the gallery to view my work. Studio visits are also possible, by appointment.

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Alice Engel Levinson · alice@alicelevinson.com · Hillsborough, NC