Allison Janae Hamilton (b. 1984) is a visual artist working in photography, sculpture, installation, and taxidermy. She was born in Kentucky, raised in Florida, and her maternal family's farm and homestead lies in the rural flatlands of western Tennessee. Hamilton's relationship with these locations forms the cornerstone of her artwork, which features uncanny scenes that blend the epic with the everyday and the disturbing with the delicate against the backdrop of the rural American south. Each of her works houses narratives that are pieced together from folktales, family lore and overheard gossip, superstitions, sermons, hunting and farming rituals, and Baptist hymns. The materials she uses—from metal to animal carcasses, found linens to furniture, red clay to antlers and claws—participate in her visioning of what the epic tale or great myth looks and feels like within geographic and imagined southern landscapes. In this way, Hamilton's work centers on imagination in order to meditate on disruption and magic in the seemingly mundane routines and rituals of rural life.
Hamilton has exhibited at museums and institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington, DC), the Jewish Museum (New York, NY), Fundación Botín (Santander, Spain), the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL), and the Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA). Her work has appeared in the Brighton Photo Biennial and Istanbul Design Biennial. She was a 2013-2014 Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program, sponsored by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Hamilton has been awarded artist residencies at Recess (New York, NY), Fundación Botín (Santander, Spain), the School of Visual Arts (New York, NY) and the Rush Arts Foundation (New York, NY). She received her PhD in American Studies at New York University and her MFA in Visual Arts at Columbia University. Hamilton's artwork has appeared in publications such as Transition Magazine, Women and Performance, Arte Al Limite, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, and Artforum.
She lives and works in New York City.