I have come to think of Phillip Allen as one of the most wonderfully challenging painters around.
DUBLIN — Phillip Allen is an English abstract painter in his mid-forties, whose interest in the material possibilities of his medium — ranging from felt tip pens to oil paint and enamel — informs nearly everything else. He would finish a felt tip pen drawing in one sitting, and then, using the drawing as a starting point, labor over an oil painting on board for many months. Since at least 2003, when he had an exhibition of Recent Paintings at PS1, his signature gesture has been to bracket his canvases across the top and bottom edges with large gobs of paint. Formally, the bracketing is a way of framing the image, which Allen does with a line in his felt tip pen drawings. It also makes the painting’s surface protrude into the viewer’s physical space.