Monday, March 27, 2017

Deepdrippings: Phillip Allen at the Kerlin Gallery

 An edited version of this review appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on the 19 March 2017.

    The term “trippy” was made redundant in the early Seventies but on being confronted by Phillip Allen’s new show at the Kerlin Gallery one is tempted to re-employ it. Gaze into a painting such as Chin Music (Soft Octopus Version) long enough and you’ll find it gazing into you – like Nietzsche’s abyss. Allen is an English artist who has been showing at the Kerlin since 2005. As befits someone who lectures on art he is not afraid to change tack and sail off in a new direction. His last three shows could almost be by three different artists if it weren’t for one recurring feature. The title of the current show, Deepdrippings, suggests Jackson Pollock and the intertwining ribbons of black paint and the splashes  of colour confirm the connection.  Allen’s work however is more condensed, more intimate and intense, eschewing the macho scale of the American. In many of the smaller pieces the image is framed by his trademark thick border of impasto. This draws you into his disorientating cosmic visions where your eyes dance around trying to find purchase amidst the swirling riot of paint.        Kerlin Gallery Dublin.       John P. O'Sullivan