Marla Allison

In 2018 Painter Marla Allison from Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico, was awarded the Rainmaker Gallery artist residency, supported by ‘Beyond The Spectacle‘. During her residency Marla was based in a studio space at The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. She taught workshops in local schools, and at the end of her residency Marla was the keynote speaker for Indigenous Art in Britain, a symposium at Bristol University. The symposium culminated with the opening reception for her solo exhibition Marla Allison:  Painter From The Desert, at Rainmaker Gallery. The exhibition ran throughout the summer from 6th June until 11th August 2018.

Marla Allison returned to Bristol in 2019 for the opening of our winter exhibition Pattern.

I am from Laguna Pueblo so I paint Laguna Pueblo. I am an artist who accepts the challenge of personal growth and innovation. I paint and create for Laguna history to be great and remembered. I paint because I was passed down a gift from my grandfathers; I paint to continue what they started. I began with simple works of loose brush strokes, slight symbols of pottery design, and shapes taught to me in my youth. I researched the artists that I found powerful and connected what they did with what I do. From study and admiration, I found that I had something all my own”.

“Most of my influence is from pottery design of Laguna Pueblo and Hopi Pueblo. I have also found much influence by the cubism of Pablo Picasso and squares of Paul Klee. I don’t stick with one certain style but it is all my own, that’s what makes it mine. With the use of pottery design I have painted landscapes that have design on them symbolizing where the clay that holds these designs comes from. I have painted mosaic paintings that are broken up squares and by taking these paintings apart with the image, the viewer is forced to visually put them back together as a way of putting themselves and their past into it in the process.

My art is what lets me connect the past to my future. My paintings are based on the contemporary, which borrows from the past. I paint so I remember where I came from. I paint so others can remember where I come from. I paint to be remembered.” Marla Allison

Marla trained at the Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and has an Associates Degree in three-dimensional art. She has exhibited at the Heard Museum, Santa Fe Indian Market, and the Smithsonian Museum (NY). Her work can be found in permanent collections at The Heard Museum (Pheonix, AZ), The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (Santa Fe, NM), Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge, SD) and private collections around the world. In 2010 she was awarded the Eric and Barbara Dobkin Native Woman’s Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research (Santa Fe) and in April 2017 she travelled to the Abu Dhabi Art Hub (United Arab Emirates) for a month long residency.

The following works were created during Marla Allison’s four week artist residency in Bristol, 2018:

In addition to paintings Marla Allison has created a range of jewellery in collaboration with celebrated artist & jewellery maker Pat Pruitt.

Read an interview with Marla Allison from her artist residency here.

Rainmaker Exhibitions featuring Marla Allison

Flora 14, 2019 (detail) by Monty Little


Buckskin Print; Lazy Stitch Rows, serigraph by Jordan Ann Craig


The Young Americans exhibition 2019

The Young Americans

'On A Wire', acrylic on canvas by Billy Hensley

Birds, Beasts & Butterflies

'Ancient Layers of The Earth' (detail) by Marla Allison

Marla Allison:
painter from the desert

WE ARE NATIVE WOMEN -'Jenna' by Cara Romero

We Are Native