On November 29 Linda Mieko Allen’s Supernatura, work of the past four years, opens at Nancy Hoffman Gallery, continuing through January 5. In Supernatura the artist investigates place and displacement, a favorite subject of hers for ongoing exploration. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings and a sculptural installation. Allen has long been interested in the cycle of constructive, deconstructive and reconstructive behavior in the environment. As she says:” “I am always intrigued with the shifting, mysteries and temporal qualities of the natural world,” which she attempts to capture in her new body of work. Parallel to her interest in constructive, deconstructive, reconstructive behaviors is her technique, similar to suminagashi Japanese ink on water technique. The palette is torn, cut, shaped, deconstructed and reconstructed into a new realm. The installation, ‘Half Glass Full,’ is a collection of fabricated blown glass test tubes in a large scale. They lean against the wall and have gradient tones of blue tinted water. The artist envisions this work as a marker of time, and possessing a supernatural quality of light and shadow. another suggestion of displacement. In conjunction with this work she quotes Pliny the Elder: “Such is the audacity of man that he hath learned to counterfeit nature, and is so bold as to challenge her work” Pliny the Elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus ‘Natural History’ Allen deconstructs in order to construct an invented “scape.” There are glimpses of what seem to be land formations and architectonics. As soon as the viewer thinks he/she has discovered something recognizable, the work dissolves into abstraction… the intention of the artist. “
Allen’s works are hybrid manipulations of paint and drawing. The paintings are built of thin acrylic “transfer” layers, ink film, and other media on aluminum or wood panels. Each painting is based around a high-key background color, filled with myriad incidents, many of them variations on the color blue. Like her background color Allen’s palette is distinctively her own. In the newest paintings light is a “primary subject,” a player on the field of the panel. The mark making moves across the surface as light and color shift, not unlike the magic of twilight colors in nature, changing the world from moment to moment.
Allen’s paintings invite close viewing and examination, they offer much from afar and up close. The initial impact is of color, energy, light and movement. Up close they reveal the intelligence of the artist musing on the state of the world today, with its many contradictions, confusions, and constant flux. These are 21st century paintings, not trying to solve problems, but posing questions for the viewer as the viewer takes in their voluptuous possibilities.
Linda Mieko Allen was born in Osaka, Japan. She received her B.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and attended Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. She has received painting residencies from the American Academy in Rome, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; Bogliasco Foundation, Liguria, Italy; Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, California; MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire; Roswell Foundation, New Mexico; Roswell Artist-in-Residency Foundation, New Mexico; The Ucross Foundation, Clearmont, Wyoming; the Golden Foundation, ny , Fundación Valparaíso, Spain and Weir Farm Trust, Wilton, Connecticut. She has been the recipient of two Pollock-Krasner Awards and a grant from Berkshire Taconic Foundation, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The artist’s work has been shown at Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University; Evanston, Illinois; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California; Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Monterey Museum of Art, California; New Jersey Center for the Arts, Summit; North Adams Contemporary Artists Center, Massachusetts; Roswell Museum and Art Center, New Mexico; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery, California; Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; University Art Gallery, California State Hayward, California.
Among public collections in which her art is included are: Anderson Art Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, New Mexico; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, California; The David & Lucille Packard Foundation, Los Altos, California and Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.