Richard Allen was an important British abstract painter, whose career spanned four decades. He trained at the Bath Academy of Art in the late 1950s where he was encouraged by his tutors, Howard Hodgkin and Adrian Heath, to pursue abstract painting. His early collages showed a Pop sensibility, but by the mid 1960s he was fully committed to abstraction, becoming known for his Op art and moiré paintings in group exhibitions alongside Michael Kidner and Bridget Riley. In the early 1970s Allen was associated with the influential Systems and Matrix exhibiting groups, but his career always followed its own direction. In 1975 Allen had a solo exhibition at the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and by the end of the decade he had gained an international reputation with exhibitions in Europe, Japan and the USA. He continued to explore his own form of systematic minimalism in his later graphics, charcoal and white paintings.
This exhibition focuses on Allen’s charcoal paintings produced between 1972 and 1994. At this time Allen was experimenting with different painting mediums. He devised a technique of painting with powdered charcoal, a material most often associated with drawing, in a cellulose acetate suspension. The resulting paintings are unique in their subtle range of tones and the delicacy of their surfaces.
The quiet simplicity of Allen’s charcoal paintings resonates with the exhibition’s setting and this particular group of works has been selected in response to the architecture and quality of light present in the chapel. All of the paintings in the exhibition are from the artist’s estate and are available for sale.
At the Chapel, High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AE
01749 814 070
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am – 11pm, Sunday 9am – 6pm