Through the process of creating her rendered in detail artworks, Alyssa Fanning explores the physical and psychological effects of natural and man made calamities. In her recent series After the Disaster and Polymorphic Disasters of the Mind, the artist focuses her attention on manifestations of strength and fragility in the natural world, drawing upon various sources, from geography and environmental surveys to Old Master catalogues and her own meticulous observations.

The distance of the viewpoint is critical: Fanning's delicate artworks, executed either in graphite or coloured pencil on paper, suggest close viewing that reveals endless details, delineating the connection between the microscopic and macroscopic: "Delicately rendered through a labor-intensive process, my compositions are meditations on time and inner projections of both the disasters and triumphs of imagined land and mind scapes – personal, cultural and ecological in scope. The drawings were created from a practice that combines projection, stencil and improvisation along with perceptual observation."

As such, following Hurricane Irene in the fall of 2011, Fanning began her studies of the storm’s effects on the Hackensack River Watershed, Bergen County, NJ, her long time source of inspiration: "The watershed contains lush ecosystems that are under constant threat of development: the Hackensack and its post-flood landscape presented a microcosm of a state of devastation that exists on a much larger global scale. My perceptual exploration of this event has evolved into drawn renderings of catastrophes of the mind."

Within Fanning's narrative, a metaphor for the anxiety of economic and ecological decline and human presence are concealed: "In my drawings, plastic bags and shards of architecture meld, split apart, and evaporate into the atmosphere. These clusters of inanimate form hint at a bodily, sexual charge." On her technique, Fanning notes: "Initially the space in my paintings based on Irene hinged on a single horizon line, but in the current drawings it fluctuates between deep space and flat. Eliminating the horizon line allows for the disruption of a predictable visual order and hierarchy based on Renaissance illusionism. Some areas of the drawings appear parallel to the picture plane while others recede, heightening confusion and instability visually echoing the condition of disaster. I pair intuitively discovered imagery with predetermined structural geometries to suggest the measured and calculated versus the uncontainable."

Alyssa Fanning was born in Teaneck, NJ. A graduate of Pratt Institute (BFA) and Montclair State University (MFA), Fanning has exhibited her artwork nationwide and internationally, at Platform Project Space, Brooklyn, NY, AC Institute, New York, NY; the Glass House, New Canaan, CT; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; Teckningsmuseet, Laholm, Sweden, and Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA, among others, and has been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2012). Her work has been published in BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint and most recently in the book Uni-Verse: Poetry – Prints – Proofs by Visionary Humans published by Battery Journal.