ben allen, ARTIST
ben allen, bio
There has always been a duality in the way Ben makes art - this enables him an ever-evolving development of techniques and a continuous progression of ideas.
His gestural paintings channel a vivid subconscious energy and stream of aesthetic influences, using screen printing techniques to build highly structured, graphical images, which are considered, repetitive and refined alongside a subconscious onslaught of actions, hurled at the canvas until a composition emerges and finds its place.
At points, these contrasting sides converge and symbolise the variations within society and human nature.
Both methods are highly involved and equally vital in terms of outcome, energy and influence. By repeating motifs, layering colours, spraying, dripping, distorting, scratching and scraping, Ben pushes the boundaries to reveal an image which ultimately reflects his intention.
The process is emotional, reflective and meditative. It’s a comment on society and the things that frustrate him and thrill him. It reflects observed moments of humanity: kindness, greed, innocence, freedom and expression which are ever-present in the media, and it is the antithesis to the banality of daily life.
"Through my paintings and prints, all aspects of the human condition find a place and I want people to be able to relate by looking and finding something familiar within the abstracted marks and brightly coloured, graphical imagery. I am motivated by the fact that people respond to different images in their own, very personal way and that response can change over time, depending on mood and circumstance. I am also interested in the effect the work has on people’s response to the world around them. I am fascinated by the idea that art can fundamentally impact consciousness, and I make work to exploit this very human sensitivity.
I freely invite chance to play a role in my practice and I allow a space for paintings to evolve without premeditation. I have always been drawn to the textures of street walls and billboards - embellished over time with layers of graffiti, tags, posters, leaflets and advertising hoardings which are layered up, painted out, destroyed and decayed by the weather. In their own way, these surfaces reveal things about a place and the people who live there and I love the idea that nature has a part to play in creating something from nothing.
I make work to challenge ignorant values. I make work to contrast the depth, complexity and mystery of the old and the transparency and throw-away tendencies of the new. I make work to empower and inspire free thought, to make a positive change, to share knowledge and engage and confront our fears. I want to challenge social and mental barriers, which in turn break down out-of-date concepts about creativity".
- Ben Allen.