Richard Allen (B. 1964, Sydney, Australia) is an artist who relishes experimentation and evolution, while at the same time being confident and comfortable in the revisiting of earlier discoveries, themes or styles.
Many artists move from abstract to figurative or vice versa. Allen’s work represents a subtle, poetic synthesis of the two. His familiar Arial landscape paintings, which, although also abstract, are a direct representation of the patters man creates in his quest to subjugate and tame his natural 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 he then softens with either round shapes or arabesques, suggestive of calligraphy, musical clefs or trailing fronds of vegetation.
Often using a very restricted palette, based on the hues of earth, stone, sand and vegetable pigments, these paintings have at once the deftness and dreamy vagueness of early Chinese watercolours and the timeless, haunting quality of ancient cave paintings or frescoes.
The backgrounds of all his paintings are always interesting - all reveal that Allen has not abandoned his love of the abstract. Animal and landscape paintings are so often simply based on technical, photographic, perfection – banal realism. Nothing could be further from Allen’s work. What gives all his works their fascination and allure is their lyrical, elegiac elegance, producing works of real panache and poignant beauty.