Robert F. Allen will show “A Winter Walk” and “Matter of the Heart” at Manchester University, Sept 13 — Nov 19, 2013

August 17, 2013

by Kevin L. Miller

"A Winter Walk," 4 ft x 8 ft acrylic on canvas by Robert F. Allen, 2013

“A Winter Walk,” 4 ft x 8 ft acrylic on canvas by Robert F. Allen, 2013

Robert built himself a tiny shelter in the woods behind his family home in the sticks north of Syracuse when he was growing up, and lived there with his pet raccoon, Cooner, who was fiercely protective of the artist as a young man. Robert tells the story of a time when his abusive step father raised a hand to hit him, but Cooner attacked and nearly shredded that hand. The man found it easier to leave Robert alone after that. Robert’s intense devotion to the animal kingdom is evident in his new, highly textured 4 ft x 8 ft canvas, “A Winter Walk.”

"A Winter Walk," acrylic on canvas, detail of Scrappy the dog, Robert F. Allen, 2013

“A Winter Walk,” acrylic on canvas, detail of Scrappy the dog, Robert F. Allen, 2013

 

Robert has always loved animals, nature, and the elements. His personal connection with his favorite of five dogs — Scrappy — is evident in “A Winter Walk,” which depicts “Crappy,” as Robert calls him, trudging through the snow in a cityscape. The acrylic painting so intensely textured that the dog stands 3/4 inch above the canvas in some places. The cold pelting snow is palpable, as is the clear intention of the dog to get to his destination. Robert has captured that admirable ability of dogs to focus completely on a task. He paints with that concentration.

"Matter of the Heart," 4 ft x 7 ft acrylic on canvas by Robert F. Allen, 2013

“Matter of the Heart,” 4 ft x 7 ft acrylic on canvas by Robert F. Allen, 2013

For the last five years, until just recently, Robert F. Allen had painted prolifically in a purely abstract expressionist style, reminiscent of the work of Jackson Pollock. Suddenly, he exploded that paradigm several months ago and has now produced four major representational canvases, in which some objects are recognizeable and some forms are abstract. In his most recent 4 ft x 7 ft acrylic painting, “Matter of the Heart,” Robert’s love of Jackson Pollock’s airborn paint application techniques is still visible in the background behind an obvious heart shape, a big crown, and some cactus-like forms. The texture is increasingly intense in Robert’s work, as he draws parts of his paintingts by squeezing lines and swirling piles of paint directly out of the tubes onto his canvases. Many of his pieces look like edible confections, and they are certainly candy for the eyes. The overall effect is very tactile and sensuous.

"Matter of the Heart," detail from the center right side of the 4 ft x 7 ft acrylic on canvas by Robert F. Allen, 2013

“Matter of the Heart,” detail from the center right side of the 4 ft x 7 ft acrylic on canvas by Robert F. Allen, 2013

Robert is currently working on another large canvas full of many highly textured animals, and he has said that he hopes to complete yet another major painting before his one-man show at Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana, Link Gallery, Winger Building, Sept 13 — Nov 19, 2013. His artist’s reception will take place in Link Gallery on Saturday, Oct 5, 11 am — 1 pm. The show is entitled, “PLEASE TOUCH THE ART — Texture Is Part of the Experience.” The public is invited to meet Robert F. Allen and run their hands over his highly textured canvases. He also plans to show some of his highly detailed inlaid hardwood tables and painted chairs.

 

 

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One Response to “Robert F. Allen will show “A Winter Walk” and “Matter of the Heart” at Manchester University, Sept 13 — Nov 19, 2013”

  1. OK, third attempt: I have been enthralled by Robert’s art ever since I saw his early pieces. The painting I purchased, “Possibilities,” hands above the staircase in my home and it draws me in sometimes unexpectedly, as it does visitors. I can only assume that some wondrously magical energy flows through Robert and allows him to create such awe-inspiring works of wonder. Or maybe it’s a spirit that resides at Sawmill Road, who knows. What wonderful work from a true artist, in every sense of that word.

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