Richard Allen British, 1933-1999
Born in Worcester, Richard Allen trained firstly as an agricultural engineer. After National Service, he attended Worcester Art School, going on to Bath Academy of Art in 1957. Howard Hodgkin and Martin Froy were major influences while a student at Bath. Allen also drew inspiration from the abstract collage work of Adrian Heath and Gwyther Irvin. Their teaching methods led directly to his development as a mature abstract artist, recognised by his first public commission - a mural-scale mosaic for Chippenham College - undertaken whilst still a student at Bath.
After leaving Bath, Allen won a scholarship to study the historic mosaics at Ravenna, although he found more inspiration in industrial Milan, in particular in its building site hoardings. Returning to London, he married a fellow student from Bath, Eve Laurens and began teaching at art schools alongside Bridget Riley and Allen Jones.
Allen's mature work moved through a series of important phases. Early Pop poster collages drew directly from his stay in Italy, and by the mid-1960s he had developed his own form of Op (Optical) Art, showing with Michael Kidner and Bridget Riley. Experimentation with moiré (interference) effects followed, and his interest in pure abstraction led naturally to his joining the Matrix Group - an experimental movement linked to European Constructivism. Adopting the philosophy and methods of a systemic form of painting, he showed in the influential Matrix and Systems exhibitions in 1971 and 1972.
Allen explained: 'system as it exists in my work evolved slowly over a period of formal experiment and was due primarily to an innate necessity to work creatively within a personally acceptable range of formal limitations'.
In 1975 his achievements to date were recognised with a solo exhibition at the ICA, London, he showed a series of innovative monochrome paintings, made using his own technique which allowed him to paint with a charcoal suspension. By the end of the 1970s, Allen had gained an international reputation with exhibitions in Europe, Japan and the USA. Allen's work continued to develop throughout the 1980s and 1990s, mostly focussing on graphics and a final series of 'White Paintings'. He died in 1999, having suffered from Motor Neurone Disease.
Visit the Richard Allen website www.richardallenartist.uk
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Find Richard Allen in the Tate Collection Tate Gallery
X (ENG 7), 1971
Untitled (ENC 12), 1972
Grid Series I (ENC 6), 1980
Grid Series II (ENC 7), 1980
Grid Series III (ENC 4), 1980
Grid Series IV (ENC 3), 1980
Grid Series V (ENC 5), 1980
Untitled (ENG 28), 1990
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENC 40), 1994
Untitled (ENC 42), 1994
White Painting XXX (ENW 21), 1996
Untitled, Moire Painting (ENM 3), c1966
Untitled (ENC 16), c1974
Untitled (ENC 57), c1979
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENC 30), c1979
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENC 31), c1979
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENC 9), c1979
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENWCP 48), c1993
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENWCP 54), c1993
Untitled Charcoal Painting (ENWCP 56), c1993
Post-War British Art on Vortic2 - 30 Apr 2021VISIT THE SHOW Each gallery is presenting a virtual exhibition on the Vortic platform, with new shows launching every few days until the end of April. They can be...
Richard Allen: At the Chapel, Bruton30 Apr - 12 Sep 2012An exhibition of paintings and drawings from the estate of Richard Allen in the village of Bruton, Somerset. The venue is At the Chapel a beautifully converted 17th Century coaching...
London Art Fair 201218 - 22 Jan 2012Tuesday 17 January (Invited guests / Preview & Six Day Ticket Holders) 06:00pm - 9:00pm Wednesday 18 January 11:00am - 9:00pm Thursday 19 January 11:00am - 9:00pm Friday 20 January...
Richard Allen: Victoria Art Gallery, Bath9 Apr - 5 Jun 2011Richard Allen attended the influential Bath Academy of Art from 1957-60. He embraced the unconventional teaching methods of Clifford Ellis, Principal of the Academy, and his wife Rosemary, as well...
Richard Allen: A Retrospective16 Apr - 10 May 2008A retrospective exhibition at Offer Waterman & Co, London.
1967 University of Sussex, Brighton
1968 A. De Gruchy & Co, St Helier, Jersey
1971 Angela Flowers Gallery, London
1972 Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford
1974 Gallery Del Cavallino, Venice, Italy
1974 Salone L'Annunciata, Milan, Italy
1975 Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
1976 Galleria Bologna Due, Italy
1976 Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague, Netherlands
1978 RHOK Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
1979 Galerie S65, Aalst, Belgium
1979 Poole Fine Art, Basle International Art Fair, Switzerland
1980 Atelier De Recherche Esthétique, Caen, France
1981 Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague, Netherlands
1982 Gallery Takagi, Nagoya, Japan
1983 Art Centre, Aberystwyth
1985 University Art Gallery, Exeter
1988 Printworks Gallery, Chicago, USA
1989 Printworks Gallery, Chicago, USA
1990 Jersey Arts Centre, St Helier, Jersey
1996 RHOK Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
1998 University of Wales, Aberystwyth
1999 Jersey Arts Centre, St Helier, Jersey
1999 Flowers East, London
2008 Offer Waterman & Co, London
2011 Victoria Art Gallery, Bath
2012 At The Chapel, Bruton, Somerset
Richard Allen at Tate BritainNovember 3, 2016Richard Allen's Six Panel Systems Painting (1972) is now on display at Tate Britain for the first time . It was acquired by the Tate...
WallpaperSeptember 13, 2011The October issue of Wallpaper magazine features three works from the gallery's inventory. The article 'Artists in Residence' pages 298 - 309 was shot on...