Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Phillip Allen

Phillip Allen,
Between the Soup and the Cheese - version 5,
2009, oil on canvas, 50x50cm

Phillip Allen is a British born painter best known for his unique brand of abstraction incorporating modernist design motifs and contemporary painterly conventions. In a current exhibition at Transition Gallery in London, Allen, alongside Rose Wiley and Jake Clark, is showing a new set of works that represent a stylistic departure from his earlier paintings. Allen chooses an all-over treatment of the canvas yet, like his past work, still explores the delicacies of paint and their relationship to surface. In some of the works a full or partial narrow frame anchors the geometric forms nicely - an interesting and effective evolution from the two deliciously thick icing-like bands typically featured in former paintings. When I first saw these new works I really sat up and took notice because, to be honest, they just make the whole process of painting (arduous layering, gruelling removal, infuriating re laying etc etc) look so easy. Can you tell I'm a little frustrated right now? Seriously...this painter has all the tools and the nuanced visual language to make a beautifully rendered abstract painting. It is also, from what I can glean from my internet research, a style that is quintessentially British (a Prunella Clough legacy, perhaps? without forgetting a Nozkowskiesque nod to the small format, of course) and I'm very much enamoured of what is being made in that part of the world right now like this, and these.

7 comments:

Sophie Munns said...

Your writing on painting is always food for thought and deeply nourishing UP.
I like the painters you have referred to as well
as the Phillip Allen work. The exhibition "rubbernecking" is very appealing for that intense painterly manner of his and the lush surfaces and interesting compositions.
You always find artists with a wonderful relationship with the paint itself.
I love this... its pulls me back into my body... out of my head. I feel better after a visit with undercover painter!
Keep coming with the inspiration- its a gift!
S

Undercover Painter said...

Hey, Sophie. When trying to think of a phrase in relation to this post I wish i'd thought of 'lush surfaces' - that's what it's all about! So Merry Christmas, Sophie. My gift to you ;) x

Alli Sharma said...

Interesting link to work at Gooden Gallery, show finishes tomorrow - I might just make it, thanks! Also enjoyed Sabine Tress post.

Nomi Lubin said...

Wow, I wish I wasn't half asleep . . . must come back. There's so much here! Have not been here in a while . . .

undercover painter said...

Nomi, you probably don't drop by often coz I'm a slack arse at posting....so I understand. I'll get cracking!

Nomi Lubin said...

Yes, this painting should look too easy, too .. . casual and light or something, but it doesn't and that's part of what's exciting about it, I think. There's more tension, of course, around that central bit, but it's not just that -- it's that the more lyrical parts surrounding are somehow completely engaged. The black and white aren't hurting either. That is, the black and white truly act as color here.

I think I could bear to live with this painting . . .

Paul Behnke said...

I just discovered your blog and am so glad to find a source for British, Irish and Australian abstract work.
I have long been aware of and influenced by painters like Gillian Ayers, John Hoyland, Heron and Albert Irvin.
But you have introduced me to many others!
Thanks
Paul

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