Artist: Tom Allen
Venue: Air de Paris, Paris
Exhibition Title: Praeternatura
Date: November 28, 2020 – January 16, 2021
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Air de Paris, Paris. Photos ©GRAYSC.
Air de Paris is pleased to present a solo exhibition of the Los Angeles-based painter, Tom Allen.
Tom Allen has a singular, if unusual relationship with nature. More chthonic than Arcadian, the so-called natural world he depicts in his paintings is in fact anything but natural. Indeed, if what he does could be considered an idealization of nature, then it is an idealization that goes the wrong way, to the point of excess, of perversion. The infernal flora that populate his paintings seem to not only preclude any kind of return to Eden, but more importantly, betoken a toxic landscape that is probably not even fit for human existence. What he makes doesn’t even seem made for the human eye; as vibrantly colored as they are super saturated with information, they might be mutations meant for a more evolved optical capacity. This general quality of excess has deep roots in fin-de-siècle France, or the French decadents, specifically in the work of Éduoard Vuillard and Gustave Moreau, the novels of J.K. Huysmans, as well as the Art Nouveau objects of Louis Comfort Tiffany and René Lalique. Synthesized with his long standing interest in mysticism and love of Heavy Metal, this frame of reference informs the crucible from which he produces his unique and preternatural vision of the world.
The six floral portraits presented in his show at Air de Paris were painstakingly crafted, often times with surgical precision, over the course of the last year. They see him pushing his medium to new, hallucinatory limits. From his black iris on orange paisley ground in VI to his fantastical rose and canna Iily, the sheer density of information achieves new heights of retinal opulence Meanwhile, the pair of double orchids, which represent day and night and which contain over fifty colors, could be seen as the twin poles around which this manifestation of Allen’s universes revolves and visually explodes.
Tom Allen (b. 1975, Springfield, Massachusetts) lives and works in Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include: Là-bas, Lulu, Mexico City (2019) and The Lovers, Bel Ami, Los Angeles (2017). Recent group exhibitions include: (2019) Dreamhouse vs. Punkhouse, Serious Topics, Inglewood, CA; (2017) Symbolisms, Cooper Cole, Toronto; Witch-Ikon, Mortlake & Company, Seattle; Therianthropy, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London; Ruins In the Snow, High Art, Paris; (2016) A Change of Heart, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles; Outside, MiM Gallery, Los Angeles. His work can be found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Sweeney Gallery at the University of California, Riverside, and in numerous private collections.