This new Other Criteria publication focuses entirely on drawings made by the London-based painter Phillip Allen. With accurate reproduction colour marker and pen drawings on cream paper simply presented without any accompanying text, this book provides an excellent visual insight into Allen’s unique method of pictorial construction and inventiveness as a draughtsman. Looking at Allen’s drawings in this book is similar to seeing them in his studio, arranged one after another across a wall, some with similar characteristics to that of school exercise book doodles and cartoons, others making, referencing and developing the imagery found in his paintings.
The ‘whirls and twirls’ at the bottom and top of the drawings may be an instinctive or idiosyncratic part of Allen’s mark-making, but they also refer to the clumps and gatherings of paint that sit heavily at the top and bottom of his paintings, working both to contain the motif in the ‘middle’ of the picture and to raise aesthetic dialogue. Allen’s drawings are therefore notes on his paintings as well as things that explore the diversity and range of the ‘office stationery’ he uses, which gives them a vibrant appeal and a very contemporary quality. This exquisite book shows that Allen’s drawings are very accomplished, with a simplicity that hides a complexity unique to the practice of drawing and, as such, makes this publication a welcome and innovative contribution to the canon of books on painters.
Phillip Allen was born in London in 1967 and currently lives and works in the capital. He was educated at Kingston University, London and Royal College of Art, London, where he obtained an MA in Fine Art in 1992.
Allen is known for his textured paintings and pen drawings, both of which use colour and shape to exploit his materials to their inherent potential. His sketches and felt-tip drawings display a fascination with geometry and abstract form, and possess something of the school boy’s doodles, despite being controlled and intricately arranged.
Allen has exhibited broadly, including the following group exhibitions: The British Art Show 6, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary, Art Gateshead;, touring to venues in Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, 2005; Archipeinture: painters build architecture, Le Plateau/Frac Île-de France, Paris; Camden Arts Centre, London, 2006 and Layer Cake, Fabio Tiboni Arte Contemporanea, Bologna, Italy, 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include Phillip Allen: Recent Paintings, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, LongIsland City, New York, 2003; One Man Show, Xavier Hufkens, ART Brussels, 2005; Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2006 and The Approach, London, 2008-9.
The artist is represented by The Approach, London.