Missy Gaido Allen Statement

Artist Statement
Bed Pictures

Bed Pictures involves an in-depth exploration of a single subject, which is a king-sized pine bed with white sheets. The majority of the images are abstracted forms created from the sheets on the bed, and almost all of these are nonreferential for the viewer as to their position in the frame or their relative size to the objects. The images reveal a carefully observed subject, attention to the detailed nuances of the bed and the sheets, and, in some cases, are subtely political. The centrality of the bed in everyday life is undeniable; my work tends to objectify the subject and concentrate on the unexpected beauty of this commonplace item. There are currently 50 images in this series, all of which are printed as gelatin silver prints measuring 15 by 15 inches on 16 by 20 paper, and the series is still ongoing. Images dating from 1995-1999 were printed on Kodak Ektalure paper (now defunct) and the later works are on warm-tone Luminos paper.

Iowa Spring

The images of Iowa Spring were shot in 1998 as a way of reclaiming my sanity. As a Texan living in the Northern Plains, I was in no way prepared for the brutality of the winter weather. I didn't even own a heavy coat before moving there; I rarely needed more than a jacket in Houston. The first snow in Iowa appeared around Halloween; the last was around Easter. And, during much of the winter, the perpetual overcast skies cast a grey pallor over the entire landscape that was exacerbated by a dense fog when things began to thaw. It was very much like being stuck inside a deep-freeze with the lid shut for five months a year. What I found on the other side of this surprised me--color, all but forgotten in the previous season, returned with a vengeance. Although spring is brief in Iowa, its display must be one of the most spectacular to be found in nature. Iowa Spring is an homage to this rebirth, renewal, and rejuvenation of color and life in the Northern Plains. There are approximately 50 images in this series. All images are 7 by 7 inch C-prints that are printed on 8 by 10 Fuji Crystal Archive paper.

Gus' World

Gus' World traces the investigations of a new life in the physical world. His discovery of nature and self is evidenced through color-saturated photographs, which I believe reflect his perception of what he is seeing for the first time. This is an ongoing series. All images are 7 by 7 inch C-prints that are printed on 8 by 10 Fuji Crystal Archive paper.

Process Statement
My darkroom processes are fairly straightforward--I use traditional black and white chemicals to produce high contrast negatives and prints. For film developing, I only use Rodinal, I agitate constantly, and I push everything by 15-20%. For printing, I use a Beseler 4x5 enlarger with a Zone VI VC cold light head and Dektol as the developer. I selenium tone all of my gelatin silver prints for permanence rather than to change the tone of the images. For my Bed Pictures 1995-1999 series, I used Kodak Ektalure paper (now defunct), which has an amazing surface that gives my high contrast negatives an effect that makes them look almost like pencil drawings. All of my works are archivally washed with a Zone VI washer.

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