I work mostly in acrylics, sometimes mixed media, combining intuition, spontaneity and a sense of experimentation to create both subtle and complex surfaces of textures and colour. The inspiration for my work is often mundane and overlooked but to me contains a wealth of visual information. Often these sources are found in peeling paint on driftwood, a lichen covered rock, rusty metal. Through the process of texturing and paint layering, adding and subtracting, I endeavour to convey an emotion, a fleeting moment, the passage of time.
Allen was born at Stamford Hill, London, and taught to paint by her parents. Her father, Hugh Allen, was a well-known painter himself, and her grandfather was the publisher George Allen (Allen & Unwin). Coming from a very creative family, she began showing her work at the age of 13, and published two books as a child: A Child's Visions and The Birth of the Opal. She painted and drew fairies and religious subjects, and worked as an illustrator for many magazines, including The Illustrated London News, The Sketch, and The Tatler.
Apparently her precocity caused a sensation in London. Anthony Ludovici was not pleased, declaring in The New Age (October 9, 1913; 13:24:704) "She did go on and paint reasonably well, working in stained glass as well as drawing and painting". The newspapers in 1913 made much of time she spent in St Ives, under the headline 'The Celebrated Child Artist at St Ives', saying that she had become a familiar figure on the beach that summer. In London's Daily Mirror this 'news' accompanied two pictures of the artist and her sister on St Ives beach. She employed one of the Island studios, for a period, in St Ives.
Her work had a strong religious and spiritual element, and she completed pictures on site in a series of churches. [See Spirit of the Ages website for a selection of religious art]. She lived for many years in Chalford, Gloucestershire.
Please note: There are at least two artists named Gordon Allen, the sculptor reviewed below, and a Devon-based painter in Brixham, who exhibits paintings in galleries around the southwest and on-line, including Newquay, Cornwall. There is always the possibility of some confusion where artists of the same name exhibit work in the area.
Gordon Allen, artist and sculptor, is also a professional engineer and metal worker. He has lived in Cornwall for about 15 years, having set up his studio in one of the railway outbuildings in St Ives.
Gordon learned his trade and craft in the workshops of the Midlands. Many years in the aircraft industry, especially in aircraft construction, led to particular interest in the use of engineering techniques in sculpture. Gordon has an obvious love for metals which is evident from his work. Aluminium, copper, stainless steel - the colours, textures and reflections are deftly shaped and blended. The finished works gleam and vibrate with the vision and energy of the sculptor. In contrast, the natural stone pieces show a deep perception and contemplation of forms.
Finally, the flowing lines of the white sculptures represent a deep peace reflecting the inner vision of a man whose translation of life travels beyond the usual conformity of the modern world. Gordon has exhibited widely including: RA, RGI, RHA, RWEA, Hesketh Hubbard Art Society and has had many private and ecclesiastical commissions. [from The Cornishman]
Allen was born in Sheffield, and studied at Sheffield School of Art. He is a new entry to the CAI, and found only through a picture search of auction catalogues to find subjects of identifiable Cornish content. Further research will follow and is invited from anyone able to provide information about Allen's visits to Cornwall.
Correspondent (2012) writes: 'Harry Allen was a great friend of my grandfather the St Ives artist W A GUNN. They met in Sheffield in the twenties I think - certainly before my grandparents moved to St Ives. He and my g'father primarily painted together on trips to Ireland and Derbyshire. His paintings in Cornwall will almost definitely have been produced during visits to their home in St Ives.'
Jess Allen was born in Bridport. She studied initially at Camberwell College of Arts and then at Falmouth School of Art where she obtained a BA (Hons) in Fine Art. She lives with her husband, a sculptor, and two children, in Penwith. Her preferred genre is still-life, which allows her to focus on the study of simple everyday objects, seeking to convey (in the words of De Chirico) 'both a sense of presence and absence'.
Recent paintings of clothing explore ideas of femininity, sexuality and image.
Martha Allen moved to West Cornwall from Bristol in the late 1980s, and established her own pottery at Marazion. She showed work from home-studio and also in many mixed exhibitions, creating large platters, bowls and ceramic masks in stoneware, on classical and cultural themes primarily referencing feminism and her love of animals.
For the Jamieson Library at Newmill, she created a remarkable wall mural in sculpted stoneware tiles on the theme of the 4th century heroine, Hypatia of Alexandria, in her chariot being driven through the marketplace. An archive of her personal writings is kept in the collections of the Library, and several distinguished pieces of her domestic ware are part of the Hypatia Collection of Women's Art.
Allen and her partner, both being musicians, now live and work in Yorkshire.
Born near Truro, she trained at Falmouth School of Art and then Stafford University. From her studio in Blackwater she creates landscapes which reflect a close affinity with the natural world. She exhibits regularly in west Cornwall and her work is represented by Trelissick Gallery.