Blum & Poe is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Theodora Allen. Through a range of symbolic imagery, Allen’s paintings explore tropes of the natural world and the rudimentary tools we use to navigate it - both emotionally and physically. The paintings resonate with the spiritual-leaning aesthetics of such fringe countercultural movements and figures as the visionary poet William Blake, designer William Morris, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, early abstractionist and mystic Hilma af Klint, and the zeitgeist of 1960’s California hippie idealism. However, allusions to past ideologies are more despondent than optimistic - fluttering moths, wild flames, guitars without strings, an occasional counting hourglass, and the common weed or dandelion. The emblems stand in as markers of time, symbols of persistence and blindsided foolishness, the uncontrollable, and the inward looking.
Allen’s new paintings feature a range of enigmatic still lifes, in which space is demarcated through interlocking planes of symmetry and framed within a stylized architectural niche. Her works achieve a balance of graphic flatness and illusionistic form, evocative of sun prints. The surfaces are slowly built up with thin washes of oil paint, which are partially removed before they can dry. The effect simultaneously defines and dissolves the picture plane, producing a subtly polluted spectrum of colors and ghostly distressed surfaces.
Theodora Allen (b. 1985, Los Angeles, CA) holds an MFA in painting from the University of California, Los Angeles, a BFA in painting from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, and has completed a residency at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ.
Press release courtesy Blum & Poe.