Alissa Van Atta’s abstract paintings possess a distinctive old feel. Each piece holds a story revealed only as we peel off the layers Van Atta has laid out for us: an epistolary correspondence between a sailor and his lover, penned hesitantly by a quivering hand; maybe an adieu or a nervous declaration of passion. Or perhaps a journal, stained and half-effaced by the hand of time, only a few scribbles left to unveil its secret confessions. A map, a music score, a dance choreography. Van Atta’s stories take shape through a combination of layering, coffee stains, ink washes, and charcoal lines, which create a surface that resembles creased yellow parchment. She likes for the markings and brush strokes to be visible and unrefined, celebrating the beautiful imperfections of humankind and nature. Influenced by Cubism and Abstract Expressionism, she designs her compositions through a process of deconstruction and intuitive gestures that command the viewer’s attention.
Born in California, Van Atta traveled a lot as a child. She spent three years in Paris as an adolescent and six months in Latvia with her father, who worked in academia. Van Atta earned a BFA in Fine Arts with Painting and Art History concentrations from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She exhibited extensively in North Carolina, in both juried shows and group exhibitions. Her art was featured on the cover of Genetics in Medicine, the official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and in Art Folio 2021. She currently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.