Born and raised in Vancouver, B.C., Alison Powell moved to Montreal in 2014 to pursue a degree in Fine Arts at Concordia University where she completed a double major in Art History and Visual Art. She employs methods of collage, drawing and painting to explore the way in which natural and constructed environments have an effect on individual and collective identities. Coming from an educational background in both natural and social sciences (Capilano University, British Columbia), Powell developed a keen interest in the Human-Earth relationship early on. In this relationship, she constantly sees juxtapositions between basic human needs and the environments humans construct around themselves.
Within her research based work, Powell examines the ways in which human evolutionary stages have altered the human-Earth relationship. She is specifically engaged in studying the period of the Enlightenment which brought notions of conquest over nature to the forefront of human progression. Philosophers Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant evoke concepts of the sublime in nature, acknowledging its might, yet asserting that it still is to be subjugated by the human mind, which tames all that is fearsome. Though, in this notion, they appear to have ignored our complete reliance on the Earth’s processes. Alison Powell examines shifts in human-environment relationships, suggesting that much of our identity was once founded on the natural, and has been unrecognisably morphed by that which has been built around us. Her aim is to put in question notions of progress drafted by Enlightenment thinkers that still cling on to the current global social, economic, and political contexts.