Driven by an insatiable urge to produce, Kelly Allen works in a variety of media to invent images ranging from photorealism to thickly textured, non-objective barrages of color. Expansion and exploration are the keys that unlock her creative process. Seeking to surprise, challenge, and excite the viewer, Allen’s work most often unites incongruous forms and objects to create a unique synthesis, developing new contexts and associations for the viewer to consider. Her subject matter envelops ecological concerns, cultural mythology, mental health and the human condition as she strives to examine what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. Understanding that each person brings their own concepts and history to a work of art, she offers her work as an invitation for completion by the viewer with the hope of igniting the flames of subconscious invention.
Kelly Allen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and her Master of Fine Arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including galleries and museums in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and London.
I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the fact that we, as humans, are animals. Interestingly to me, it’s not something many people enjoy discussing, so I tend to mull it over within the walls of my studio. Stripped of our objects and devices, we are all fleshy monkeys with the same base motivations, fears, and desires. I find this idea comforting, as it aids in unifying and grounding us. It helps me to understand how our species simultaneously commits terrifically horrible and inspiringly compassionate acts.
My various bodies of work stem from a collage sensibility, as I thrive upon creating new meanings and experience through the unification of images, colors, and textures pulled from the macro- to microcosmic realms. My surrealistic trompe l’oeil works employ a meditative practice focused on visual, symbolic investigation that contemplates unity. The abstract and non-objective works function to free the mind from the work of vocabulary, toward howls of elation and whispers of entropy.
I seek to satisfy my primal urges to create and surround myself with visually exciting images and objects and share them with others in order to feel connected. Through process, I contemplate the split between humanity’s evolution toward the understanding of unity and the expanding devolution toward narcissism and destruction of our very life source. The work is my companion on the bumpy road toward peace with humor and compassion, while minding the mania and sadness that comes from the weight of these heavy ideas. I wrestle with the temptations of seduction and destruction through the safety of color, texture, and form. In oils, acrylic, gouache, graphite, colored pencils, paper, fibers, and wood, I work to feed what’s hungry.
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