Kelly Allen ‘Hidden Seeking’
Kelly Allen’s new body of work “Hidden Seeking” continues the artist’s investigation of graphic symbolism and popular cultural imagery, in collision with the natural world. Deriving her inspiration from variegated sources, her work is both illustrative and symbolically elusive. The artist’s selective use, and omission, of imagery is in keeping with her highly refined and recognizable aesthetic. A thematic undercurrent of contemporary mysticism seems to imbue the tone and composition of her work, as it borders on the magical. Everything from tigers and birds, to deer and foxes, to botanicals and bees, coexist with graphics and decorative patterning. Allen takes representational fragments from nature and life,
and constructs elaborate and stylized compositions, as reliant on her selective use of negative space as they are on their dizzying compendium of visual information. The work is dynamic, kinetic, dense and chromatically vibrant: an unparalleled visual syncopation of graphic and natural intrigues.
As the title of this show suggests, Allen’s work is more about the intuitive process of aesthetic seeking, and the adventure of unlikely combinations of images and references, rather than the resolution of full disclosures. The work is dialogic in that meaning is derived from the collision and collusion of polarities, and resides in suggestion rather than in imperatives. By transplanting and juxtaposing seemingly unrelated images and content, her work becomes entirely fantastical and “other”. Allen has created a symbolic cosmology that exists entirely unto itself, and in its own realm, and yet uses the material of the recognizable world to weave elaborate dreamscapes. Her revelations are subtle and discrete, and embedded in complex assemblies of visual languages. Her synthesis of illustration, graphic design, and painterly realism, combined with her collage like compositions and graphic designations of space, speaks to an eclectic metabolization of visual vocabularies and influences. The end result is one of beautiful interrogation and exploration, as the fabric and patchwork of Allen’s juxtapositions compel us to embark on a journey of aesthetic mysticism with possibilities that resist the confines of the finite.
About Kelly Allen:
Kelly Allen’s tightly rendered paintings can most succinctly be described as symbolic portraits of wild animals inspired by her deep love for nature, and informed by art history, design, fashion, and discarded books and magazines.
Allen lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently holds gallery representation at Thinkspace, StolenSpace Gallery in London, and Bold Hype Gallery in New York. She is a regular participant in 111 Minna’s Sketch Tuesday events in San Francisco, and exhibits her work all over the Bay Area. She recently sold a painting through Christie’s Auction House, and was featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 19 in 2011. This year, she is booked solid with solo and group exhibitions in New York, London, and California, and will be working on several projects with Flaunt Magazine, in addition to releasing limited edition prints through Poster Child Prints, Hi-Fructose, and Spoke Art. In addition to creating original paintings and commissions, she works as a freelance illustrator, having worked for New York Magazine and The Sunday Times UK Edition, among others. Allen holds an MFA in drawing from Kendall College of Art and Design and her B.A. in painting from Humboldt State University in Northern California.
Artist Website: http://kellyallen.com