Australian painter Richard Allen deftly navigates abstraction and figuration in his vibrant canvasses. Rather than moving between the two genres, Allen represents a subtle, poetic synthesis of the two, abstracting forms from the world around him and capturing others in a more naturalistic fashion. His work is categorised by his arial landscape paintings and his animal series, both of which feature the use of deep texture and saturated, rich colours.Read More
Allen’s arial paintings are a direct representation of the instinctual need to pattern a landscape in order that mankind can understand, subjugate and tame his surroundings. These works are often characterised by ribbons, stripes or wavy striations of hot colour, and vibrant variegated polychrome, which tantalise with luxuriant texture and dollops of rich colour. Despite all the apparent abandon and flux, there is careful control and restraint, lent by geometric forms or bands of colour acting as frames or borders, which are then softened with either round shapes or arabesques, suggestive of calligraphy, musical clefs or trailing fronds of vegetation.
Allen’s figurative work which largely deals with animals is related to his abstract landscapes in their ecological subtext but also represents an exciting departure both in content and style. Where his bold abstract compositions are wonderful interpretations of the land forms of his native country, these works have a more overtly figurative dimension centering round the inhabitants. In these canvasses the artist employs a more restricted palette, based on the hues of earth, stone, sand and vegetable pigments. The works recall early Chinese watercolours and the timeless, haunting quality of ancient cave paintings or frescoes.
Allen has had numerous solo shows throughout Australia and in London. He has also exhibited in Hong Kong, France and New York. His work is held in various corporate and public collections including Standard Chartered Bank, Sydney Bank, Macquarie Bank, Pernod Ricard in Paris and The New Westmead Children’s Hospital.