Described by art critic John Yau as “one of the great painters of his generation”, Phillip Allen explores the possibilities of painting with a dogged commitment. A relentless experimenter, he has refused to settle into any one mode or style, instead choosing to continually push the boundaries of his chosen medium. This chameleonic approach has seen him pivot from geometric semi-figurative landscapes to soft, disintegrated abstraction, to highly sculptural and textured impasto paintings on board. Consistent throughout this varied output has been Allen’s ingenuity as a colourist, his radical rethinking of pictorial space and depth, and his devotion to the materiality of paint – its plasticity, texture and sculptural properties. But although Allen’s practice is rooted in these very physical, formalist concerns, the resulting paintings can feel ethereal, cosmic, sublime – as if liberated from the very materiality Allen set out to explore. Often featuring fluid, spiralling or coalescing forms, they feel associative, hallucinatory, playful, with titles that display an irreverent sense of humour and curiosity.
Phillip Allen lives and works in London.
Phillip Allen’s work has been exhibited at Tate Britain, London; the British Art Show; CCA Andratx, Mallorca; the Heritage Museum, Hong Kong; The Total Museum, Seoul; and in a solo presentation at MoMA PS1, New York. In recent years, he has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Kerlin Gallery (2017) and Dolph Projects, London (2016), and been included in group exhibitions at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2019) and The Drawing Room, London (2017). His work can be found in the collection of the Tate, London; Arts Council of England; British Council and the UK Government Art Collection.