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Phillip Allen: ‘Coarse Grain’

  • Art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Phillip Allen at The Approach
Phillip Allen at The Approach
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Imagine if gum was allowed to accumulate on the underside of a desk for thousands of years. That’s what the smaller new works by Phillip Allen look like: thick, globby accretions of lumpy textured colours. They’re so 3D they look like they’ve literally been chewed up, masticated and spat on to the canvas. 

The English artist’s paintings are bright, semi-abstract things. The centre of each is filled with swooping flower patterns in lilac, pink and Dunlop green, and all around their edges is that thick goo. They look like 1970s wallpaper with a bad skin disease, or mounds of psychedelic guano.

The bigger works in the main gallery aren’t quite so extreme, but they’re still heavily textured. They could be landscapes, or maybe they just hint at landscapes: you spy stamens and petals and grass billowing among the colours and shapes. These ones are made by glueing tiny polystyrene balls to the canvas, creating undulating, bumpy fields to paint over. 

Allen’s dayglo visions of trippy fields and hazy valleys are like a joyful version of Frank Auerbach, and they look good enough to eat, or at least have a good chew on.

Written by
Eddy Frankel

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