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Ali Cavanaugh is an internationally represented fine artist. She studied painting at Kendall College of Art and Design and the New York Studio Residency Program in New York City, earning a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design in 1995. At the age of 22, she co-founded an atelier -The New School Academy of Fine Art- in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2001. It was during her six years in Santa Fe that she developed her modern fresco process on kaolin clay.
Ali explains her work by saying, “My dependence on the visual world began when I lost much of my hearing through spinal meningitis at 2 years of age. This loss was a blessing in disguise as I learned to depend on body language and reading lips to communicate. So, from my youngest days, I became sensitive to the people around me and the unspoken language revealed through compositions of the human body. I am moved to portray the human figure in two aspects: body and soul. The image of a young female figure reaches into a part of my past that contains an infinite collection of ideas and images for inspiration. My daughter and nieces help create the visual framework for an entry point into those memories. I believe that every moment in life has potential as a great work of art”¦either a chapter in a book, a scene in a movie, or a painting. I’m constantly in a state of awareness about the world; taking in the imagery, colors, and patterns that to my eye are compositions of settings and people. This keeps me in a place where my perception is enriched by each and every moment.”
She has painted portraits for TIME magazine and The New York Times.
Her work is featured in more than 400 private and corporate collections throughout the North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Ali carefully layers watercolor pigment on a wet kaolin clay surface using synthetic brushes. Her methods of layering translucent pigment on the white surface give the paintings a sense of being backlit.
"I love the luminous quality of these delicate modern fresco watercolors. It’s as if they’re lit from behind and glowing off the panels."
"What I love just a tiny bit more than a beautifully painted portrait... a strange, beautifully painted portrait. Ali's striped socks on her subjects arms take these pieces from lovely, to fantastic!"