Until about five years ago, Phillip Allen’s paintings had two distinctand dramatically contrastingcharacteristics. One was an energetically inventive, frequently cartoonish style of colorful drawing. In each of his ebullient oil-on-board works he would essay illusionistic depictions of strange spaces, shapes, or structuresenvisioning fanciful 3-D forms within the flat confines of a painting’s surface. The other hallmark of Allen’s art, however, was a preoccupation with the actual three-dimensional properties of paint: an interest declared in his prodigal application of heavy, viscous clumps of swirling, streaking, many-hued impasto along the top and bottom edges of each composition. These dense thickets became above and below boundaries, partially framing a central playing field of pictorial contrivance. Some paintings elaborated deliriously spacey sequences of
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.