Phillip Allen’s paintings will be showing at The Kerlin Gallery, Dublin from Friday 7th June – Saturday 20th July, 2013. Entitled ‘Oxblood’ the exhibition will feature new work from this idiosyncratic painter whose abstract compositions defy convention, are playful, exuberant and refuse to sit down, relax.
Allen’s paintings are glorious over the top evocations of modernist abstraction, his paintings dipping in and out of styles and motifs, graphic pattens that explode in a funfair kaleidoscope of thick sci-fi globs of impasto that look like they might fall off the canvas at any moment.
There is something serious yet inherently amusing about Allen’s paintings as if he’s poking fun at us and the painters of art history who led a life of idealism, believed in the transcendent properties of form and colour. This is irony in a painterly way. The proof that we now live in an age where anything goes, nothing is is new, all language, symbols, styles merely exist to be reinterpreted, re-built, re-used.
Yes. Allen is a re-user, a collage artist of sorts, a wonderful painter who has the bravado and humour to take it all on, his artform and tradition, mimic it, satirize it, make these rather incredible paintings that somehow manage to accumulate rich colours, textures, form, line and spiralling perspectives in a single composition without losing a sense of themselves. For that alone he must be admired.
Here’s a little from his press release:
In many of the paintings made by Phillip Allen over the last decade, a vivid and ebullient graphic clarity contends with more convulsive painterly features. His paintings have often presented brightly coloured, interconnecting volumes or repeating, distending patterns within more mutedly toned, wide-open zones. Bordering these spaces at the upper and lower limits of the canvas, Allen’s trick has been to lay down richly abundant lines of curling impasto paint: glorious blooms and bursts of multifarious colour that thickly combine to frame and deepen the visual drama at the centre of the picture.
Lately, his paintings have expanded in scale, and they have begun to present still more hazy and ambiguous arrangements. As ever, there is a concentration on accumulations of fundamental forms — often, now, the geometric shapes that provide the historical basis of painterly composition — but the surfaces are now a storm of agitated scribbles and incessant drips. Each ‘composition’ in these powerful works is in a state of decomposition. If as one title (from 2012) suggests, ‘Delusions provide solutions’ Allen’s recent works also showing him taking on the painterly challenge of scrupulous ‘dissolution’.