BORN IN HEBER CITY, UTAH, 1970
CURRENTLY LIVES AND WORKS IN MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
Psychologically charged and compulsively expressive, Alma Allen’s works evoke a curiosity regarding the life of objects and the ways in which form and material can circumnavigate the utility of language. Known for his distillation of diverse organic references, the artist’s works simultaneously invite and resist classification.
Often realized in stone, wood, or bronze—materials hand-selected from quarries or foraged from landscapes in the area surrounding his studio—the works emit a mysterious and ineffable life force. These abstracted, biomorphic shapes feel talismanic not only in their atmospheric qualities but also by way of their playfulness: bronze sculptures appear impossibly malleable, even liquid; wood and stone grain patterns are accented to highlight their material history. Whichever medium Allen chooses, the works’ final forms and their particular outcrops and eccentricities seem as though they have been conjured by the artist during their making, born of a wordless conversation between sculptor and object.
The artist’s hybrid process encompasses preindustrial methods of hand-shaping and carving alongside advanced 21st-century technology. After repeatedly reworking finger-scale clay maquettes, Allen will employ, as needed, a self-built robotic device for translation into large-scale works, finished with an impeccable softness that belies their weight and density. A bronze foundry, constructed in the artist’s studio in Tepoztlán, Mexico, enables Allen to complete works onsite. This instinctive shaping of resistant material draws upon both the process-based conceits of Surrealist automatism and the formal inventiveness of Constantin Brancusi and Samuel Beckett.
Alma Allen participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial where he gained recognition and a wider discovery of his work. Recent group exhibitions include the de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, CA and Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. In Conversation: Alma Allen & J.B. Blunk, a two-person exhibition that began at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA (February 2018), traveled to the Nevada Museum of Art in Spring 2019.