by Kevin L. Miller

 

"Neon Dream," Robert F. Allen, 4 x 8 ft acrylic on canvas, July 2013

“Neon Dream,” Robert F. Allen, 4 x 8 ft acrylic on canvas, July 2013

PLEASE TOUCH THE ART! — Texture is Part of the Experience

 Robert F. Allen – paintings, hardwood art, and furniture

Link Gallery – Winger Building, Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana

Sept 13 – Nov 19, 2013. Artist’s Reception, 11 am – 1 pm, Saturday, Oct 5, 2013

Above is Robert's new painting "Neon Dream" displayed for photographing before stretching. The 4 x 8 ft canvas is taped to the side of the artists' new 12-ft long art trailer that used to haul someone's motorcycles until just recently. On Sept 10 Robert and Kevin will leave their studios at Sawmill Run in South Central PA in a truck pulling this trailer, both fully loaded with art for their tandem one-man shows at Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana. Robert's show will be Sept 13 - Nov 19, 2013, and Kevin's will be Sept 16 - Dec 4.  Robert's opening reception will be in Link Gallery, Winger Building, Saturday Oct 5, 11 am - 1 pm. Kevin's opening reception will be in Gallery G, MU Union, Friday Oct 4, 4 - 6 pm

Above is Robert’s new painting “Neon Dream” displayed for photographing before stretching. The 4 x 8 ft canvas is taped to the side of the artists’ new 12-ft long art trailer that used to haul someone’s motorcycles until just recently. Soon Robert and Kevin will leave their studios at Sawmill Run in South Central PA in a truck pulling this trailer, both fully loaded with art for their tandem one-man shows at Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana. Robert’s show will be Sept 13 – Nov 19, 2013, and Kevin’s will be Sept 16 – Dec 4, 2013. The opening reception for Robert F. Allen’s show will be in Link Gallery, Winger Building, Saturday, Oct 5, 11 am – 1 pm. Kevin L. Miller’s opening reception will be in Gallery G, MU Union, Friday Oct 4, 2013, 4 – 6 pm.

I saw Robert’s new painting “Neon Dream” the first time he pronounced it “finished.” He had been working on it for more than a week and actually continued working on it for the rest of that afternoon, pronouncing it “finished” every half-hour for several hours until it actually was finished. I am frankly more excited right now about Robert’s art than my own. He has had a real breakthrough. His new 4 ft x 8 ft acrylic on canvas has simply gob-smacked my art-brain, teased my tickler, and shocked me to the quick. It is beautiful, fun, and outrageously good!With “Neon Dream” Robert has shattered his own art paradigm and blazed entirely new trails into unknown and mysterious universes. He is now in territory I have seldom seen anybody else explore. I have not been this inspired by another artist since I discovered Wassili Kandinsky and Roy De Forest. I know I should not be surprised after watching this benevolent dynamo work for over 16 years, to witness him opening up yet another new frontier. But I am constantly amazed by our “Saint Superman.” It is so rare that one sees any human being do something totally unique and new, but Robert does it over and over again. He is an engine of uninhibited change, exploration and invention. He is apparently fearless.

This oblique view of a small section of Robert F. Allen's "Neon Dream" shows the richly textured surface of the painting. And YES... He really DOES want you to touch his art. Very few artists will allow such personal interaction with their work, but Robert wants you to feel the texture as well as see it.

This oblique view of a small section of Robert F. Allen’s “Neon Dream” shows the richly textured surface of the painting. And YES… He really DOES want you to touch his art. Very few artists will allow such personal interaction with their work, but Robert wants you to feel the texture as well as see it.

“Neon Dream” is not like Robert’s previous canvases although it is clearly from the same facile hand and free spirit. It features distinct abstract objects and shapes, made of swashes, splatters, squiggles, splats, drips and sprays of mist, floating on a black background. After completing that compelling composition over more than a week of work, I would have happily stopped, but Robert was not satisfied. He wanted more. So, he completely abandoned all tools and began squeezing thick strands of luminous paint directly out of the paint tubes, creating thickly textured, dynamic drawings on top of his more conventional painting. The final product is a canvas laden with luxurious icing ropes, candy pigment ribbons and creamy mounds of rich shining paint. It looks like a decorated cake or pastry. One wants to eat it! In many areas of the canvas, the paint stands almost an inch above the surface, creating an effect like a mosaic or a bas relief or a molded confection. When intense color is added to this sensuous texture, it is a very decorative and beautiful painting, and yet it is deeply mysterious and compelling, too.

This close-up detail of the center of Robert F. Allen's "Neon Dream" shows several of the principal abstract objects featured in the 4 x 8 ft acrylic on canvas. When Robert was asked what he was thinking about as he painted the object in the lower left corner, he said, "a series of pulleys with a rope laced through them." He explained that the neon-like squiggle rising from that object was the pulleys' fart.  The triangle at the top is a net-like canopy descending from above. The zig-zag white lines with red dots started as pine branches but evolved into lightning. The wheel represents the sun, shining on the gigantic flower below.

This close-up detail of the center of Robert F. Allen’s “Neon Dream” shows several of the principal abstract objects featured in the 4 x 8 ft acrylic on canvas. When Robert was asked what he was thinking about as he painted the object in the lower left corner, he said, “a series of pulleys with a rope laced through them.” He explained that the neon-like squiggle rising from that object is the pulleys’ fart. The triangle at the top is a net-like canopy descending from above. The zig-zag white lines with red dots started as pine branches but evolved into lightning. The wheel represents the sun, shining on the gigantic flower below.

This work is a true breakthrough, and like all such miraculous events, it spawns more. Robert already has visions for many paintings in this same new vein, which I believe is unique, in that it is unlike any canvases I have seen from other artists. We rarely see anything authentically new and unique in art or any other field. Whenever that happens, the new frontier must be explored. Robert F. Allen’s “Neon Dream” not only shows us fearlessly uninhibited new techniques in painting, but it creates its own unexplored universe. Entering into the canvas, we find ourselves floating in space, looking at new celestial objects, phenomena and events, and wondering what strangely beautiful and previously unknown reality we have stumbled into.

When asked about the designs in the upper right corner of his "Neon Dream" painting, Robert said, "That is just a small portion of the very ornate detailing on a huge fancy mansion that is not visible, because it is off the edge of the canvas." Like many artists, Robert imagines his canvases as snapshots of small sections of much larger scenes that could not possibly be captured in one small tableau.

When asked about the designs in the upper right corner of his “Neon Dream” painting, Robert said, “That is just a small portion of the very ornate detailing on a huge fancy mansion that is not visible, because it is off the edge of the canvas.” Like many artists, Robert imagines his canvases as snapshots of small sections of much larger scenes that could not possibly be captured in one small tableau.

Personally, I cannot wait to see the next installments in the coming series of Robert’s paintings of beautiful new worlds documenting his unparalleled imagination and courageous artistic expeditions into uncharted waters. He will unveil many of these exciting major works in his solo exhibition “PLEASE TOUCH THE ART – Texture is Part of the Experience,” at Manchester University’s Link Gallery, Winger Building, North Manchester, Indiana, Sept 13 – Nov 19. Artist’s Reception Oct 5, 11 am – 1 pm.

Robert is looking forward to talking with you and all of the visitors to his Manchester University show in the Fall of 2013 and future exhibits elsewhere. You will always be invited to "TOUCH THE ART -- Texture Is Part of the Experience!"

Robert is looking forward to talking with you and all of the visitors to his Manchester University show in the Fall of 2013 and future exhibits elsewhere. You will always be invited to “TOUCH THE ART — Texture Is Part of the Experience!”

Robert is pleased that his "Neon Dream" painting holds up well when viewed from a distance. Here he contemplates future canvases in this series.

Robert is pleased that his “Neon Dream” painting holds up well when viewed from a distance. Here he contemplates future canvases in this series.

Advertisements