Oil, Painting
Three of Swords, 2015

oil on linen over panel, 16 x 12 inches



Theodora Allen’s paintings are quiet, restrained, and at times unsettling. Drawing from music, literature, myth and nature, Allen’s meditative compositions investigate themes of temporality and eternity, exploring a space between the physical world and an interior mindscape. In recent bodies of work, Allen has presented images of celestial bodies, moths and serpents, delirium-inducing plants, and string-less guitars emerging from geometric structures and reliquary-like spaces. The emblems are introspective and elusive, carrying the tone of despondency and the weight of existential inquiry.

Through a rigorous painting process, Allen’s evocative imagery becomes ghostly. Allen paints in thin, meticulous layers of watercolor and oil on linen. Translucent coats of oil paint are applied and removed until the fabric itself shows the weather of its making. In this action, the artist’s process is a mediation between defining and dissolving the picture plane. Sources of illumination, like a candle or moon, play an important role in radiating light throughout the composition. Evanescent surfaces, polluted spectrums, and radiant jewel-toned blues animate the forces of darkness and light.

Born 1985 in Los Angeles, CA, Allen received her MFA in Painting from the University of California. Allen was recently the focus of her first solo museum exhibition, Saturine, at the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark. Her first US solo museum exhibition, A Tale of Today: Theodora Allen Saturnine will be on view at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago during the spring of 2022.


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