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LESLIE ALLEN: CAPACIOUS LANGUAGE


LESLIE ALLEN:CAPACIOUS LANGUAGE


LESLIE ALLEN: CAPACIOUS LANGUAGE Exhibition: February 1 - February 28, 2019 Reception for the Artist: Saturday, February 9, 5:30 - 7:30 pm Front Cover: Q Series: Flipbook (detail), 2018, oil on canvas over panel, 35 x 36 in Back Cover: Chaise Days II (detail), 2018, oil on canvas over panel, 60 x 40 in Photo Credit: Craig Kolb Direct all inquiries to: Seager Gray Gallery 108 Throckmorton Ave. Mill Valley, CA 94941 All rights reserved.


Abstraction allows man (or woman) to see with their mind what they cannot see physically with their eyes. Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.

- Arshille Gorky


LESLIE ALLEN:CAPACIOUS LANGUAGE

Leslie Allen is an abstract painter at the height of her powers. This new collection of works reveals her continued ability to approach each canvas with renewed freshness, delving into the process with a deftness arrived at through a lifetime of creative exploration. These are sophisticated, intelligent paintings by an artist for whom abstraction is a native tongue. “Making art is the way I gather in the world around me,” Allen says. “I draw on my own history, use the language of the materials, and concoct fiction that might just happen to resonate with others. I tell stories by way of quirky cartoons, moody landscapes, gestural figures, and large juicy abstract oil paintings, each revealing something about relationships, weather, attitudes, or just textures and the nature of paint.” Allen’s paintings are a testament to a life immersed in culture. The paintings contain deft references to art history, literature and an abiding love of music. A cello player, Allen’s most lyrical paintings surely take their cue from music. She paints with an ear for rhythm, tone and a love of subtle crescendos of movement and form. She shares Kandinsky’s belief in hearing as well as seeing as a way to make art. “Form itself,” said Kandinsky, “even if completely abstract ... has its own inner sound.” Many of the works in the exhibition are in series or diptychs that can be hung either together or separately. These configurations allow the artist to continue to explore themes that repeat the “happy accidents” found in one painting and use them to great advantage in another. Her “Q” series, “Club Q,” “Flipbook,” and “Speaking Circle” are satisfying examples of this process. The shapes in “Club Q” are strong and graphic, the Q clearly delineated and in interplay with the other shapes on the canvas. In “Flipbook” and “Speaking Circle,” the lines are softened and, in each soft pleasing drawing, lines in pencil can be seen orchestrated among the floating shapes. They are variations on a theme, much like a musical exercise where a melody may be played allegro (joyful, lively and fast) and then adagio (slower, at ease).


Allen’s unique understanding of color may be attributed to her early years as an award-winning watercolorist. She understands the differences between sedimentary pigments that sit on the surface and staining pigments that, in her words, “go deep,” soaking into the canvas. She has an intimate knowledge of how paint behaves and mixes all of her colors, never using pigment straight from the tube. “Even my blacks are mixed,” she explains. “They “rhyme” better with other elements of the canvas that way.” Born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and raised in El Paso, Texas along the Rio Grande, she places the river at the core of her early sensory and emotional connections. The Rio Grande unites two nations as a troubled symbol of endless challenges and possibilities, and she regards this twin identity as a metaphor for much of what she has encountered and generated in her life and art. “Long intrigued by the effects of farming, mining, fires, floods and other natural and human ravages, I am concerned about nature,” she says, “including the nature of people toward each other.” These concerns run deep and fuel her passions, as reflected in her paintings, styles and processes. Allen’s visual memories derive from her early environment. “From the raging Rio del Norte, the grand and mysterious Franklin Mountains, the renowned brilliance of the southwestern sun on the high desert, blackest nights with whitest stars, quivering sea of colorful lights in Mexico across the river, relentless windstorms lasting entire seasons, flash floods, scorched earth, intoxicating petrichor, rain-fragrant creosote, military machinery overhead and all around and desert vastness for endless miles – all of these things are part of my visual vocabulary,” she explains –“ Throw in some spicy food and music, boldly painted houses, cotton fields turned stucco communities, wildwesterners, legendary hats and handmade boots, handed-down traditions, liberal freedoms, fluid borders, scenic ridge luminarias, and California calling.” When California called, she moved to San Diego in 1974. She held her first public exhibit of watercolors in the federal building where she worked as a courtroom deputy while also studying graphic arts. In 1981, she moved to the Bay Area, enrolling in the Belvedere Art School. While working for Lucasfilm, she was introduced to the exquisitely detailed narrative paintings and classic


cartoons in George Lucas’ art collection, which inspired her studies of anatomy, figurative painting and cartooning. She also enrolled in the first course taught by the esteemed Chester Arnold at College of Marin, who became a mentor. He encouraged her to switch to oil painting, and after many years of plein air landscapes, expressive figures, and studies with other teachers, including those at the early Academy of Art, she abruptly shifted her focus to expressive abstract painting. Quoting Arnold: “Leslie’s ignition was brilliant, and the subsequent years of work have continued to amaze and delight lovers of ‘highoctane’ abstraction.” One of only a handful of artists who have shown with the Seager Gray Gallery since its inception in 2005, Allen has remained true to her creative expression. A favorite artist quote is from Robert Motherwell. “Nothing as drastic an innovation as abstract art could have come into existence, save as a consequence of a profound relentless unquenchable need. The need is for felt experience - intense, immediate, direct, subtle, unified, warm, vivid, rhythmic.” The combination of those eight adjectives apply uncannily to Allen’s paintings - each work transforming intensity, immediacy, directness, subtlety, unity, warmth, vividness and rhythm into an entirely satisfying experience of art.

- Donna Seager, January 2019


Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

oil on canvas over panel, 2019 40 x 30 in


Capacious I

oil on panel, 2019 48 x 36 in


Capacious II

oil on panel, 2019 48 x 36 in


Chaise Days I

oil on canvas over panel 40 x 30 in, 2019


Chaise Days II

oil on canvas over panel 40 x 30 in, 2019


Dream Farm I

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 30 x 24 in


Dream Farm II

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 30 x 24 in


Gusty (Breath of a World in Agony) oil on canvas over panel, 2019 36 x 36 in


Hang a Question Mark on That oil on canvas over panel, 2018 36 x 35 in


Hop Skip

oil on canvas, 2018 36 x 36 in


Linger Awhile

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 36 x 36 in


Meet Midway

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 72 x 72 in, quadriptych


Ms. Amanda Verandah

oil on canvas over panel, 2019 48 x 60 in


Old Flame

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 36 x 35 in


Open Semantics I

oil on panel, 2018 48 x 36 in


Open Semantics II oil on panel, 2018 48 x 36 in


Please Send Me I

oil on canvas over panel 60 x 48 in 2018


Please Send Me II

oil on canvas over panel 60 x 48 in 2018


Respiro

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 36 x 35 in


Seeing Red

oil on canvas over panel, 2018 36 x 35 in


There All Along

oil on canvas over panel, 2019 36 x 35 in


Concurrent Exhibition at One Post Street, San Francisco, CA

Leslie Allen: Gestures

JANUARY 12 - MARCH 6, 2019

Balancing Act

oil on canvas over panel, 2017 60 x 48 in


Bent Heart

oil on canvas over panel, 2017 36 x 35 in


Look Both Ways

oil on canvas over panel, 2017 36 x 35 in


Up to the Camel

oil on canvas over panel, 2017 60 x 48 in


LESLIE ALLEN SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 2019 “Leslie Allen: Capacious Language”, one person exhibit, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA 2019 “All in the Family”, group exhibit, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA 2018 “Gold”, ICB Artists group exhibit, Gallery 111, Sausalito CA 2018 “Feast of Colors”, O’Hanlon Art Center, group exhibit, Mill Valley, CA ‘ 2018 “Beyond Words”, group exhibit, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA 2018 “Marin County Honors ICB Artists” group exhibit, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael, CA 2017 “Leslie Allen: Abstractly So”, one person exhibit, Vedder Price/Arc Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2017 “Markings”, abstract group exhibit, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2017 “Abstraction: Line, Plane, Color” group exhibit, Gallery 111, Sausalito, CA 2017 “Love on the Edge” group exhibit, Gallery 111, Sausalito, CA 2015 “Contemporary Lyrical Abstraction”, group exhibit, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2015 “Leslie Allen: Fresh Paint” Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2014 “All in the Family” Group Show, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2014 Aqua Art Miami, Seager Gray Gallery 2014 artMRKT San Francisco CA, Seager Gray Gallery 2014 Marin MoCA Altered Book Show, Novato CA 2013 “Leslie Allen: Cadenza” Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2013 Context Art Miami, Miami FL, Seager Gray Gallery 2013 artMRKT San Francisco CA, Seager Gray Gallery 2012 “Leslie Allen: New Paintings” Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2012 artMRKT, San Francisco CA, Seager Gray Gallery 2012 Aqua Art Miami FL, Seager Gray Gallery 2012 “Mild to Wild” group exhibit, Gallery 111, Sausalito CA 2012 “Go Figure” group exhibit, Gallery 111, Sausalito CA 2011 Inaugural Exhibit, Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA 2011 Marin MoCA, Altered Book Show, Novato CA 2011 Summer Art Salon, Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael CA 2011 “Genius is Mysterious”Projekt30.com juried online exhibit 2010 “Drawings: Line to Shadow: Baker’s Dozen” Marin Civic Center, San Rafael CA 2010 “For Paint’s Sake” one person exhibit, Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael CA 2010 “Surface/Tension : H20”, group exhibit, Bay Model Visitors Center, Sausalito CA 2009 Group Show, Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael CA 2009 “De-Construct,” group show, Gallery 111, Sausalito CA 2008 “Taking the Plunge” one person exhibit, Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael CA 2008 “Does Size Matter” group exhibit, Gallery 111, Sausalito CA 2008 “Secrets” group exhibit, Artisans, San Rafael CA 2007 Projekt30.com November 2007, juried online exhibit 2007 “Variations on a Hue” Artisans Gallery, San Rafael CA 2007 Projekt30.com November 2007 juried online exhibit 2006 Projekt30.com July 2006 juried online exhibit 2006 “Ebb & Flow” juried group exhibit, Sausalito Arts Commission, Sausalito CA 2005 “Under the Influence” two person exhibit , First Presbyterian Church, Sausalito CA 2004 “Dichotomies” one person exhibit , Eclexion, Mill Valley CA 2004 “Small Paintings” Shoe Envy, one person show, Mill Valley CA 2003 Group Exhibition, Jessica Hall Associates, Larkspur CA


2002 “Abstractly” juried group exhibit, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, Mill Valley CA 2002 Juried group exhibit, Sausalito Bay Model, Sausalito CA 2001 “Quirkies” one person show, Mill Valley Library, Mill Valley CA 1999 “All My All” Mill Valley City Hall, Mill Valley CA 1996 College of Marin, Monotype Marathon + Auction, Kentfield CA 1995 Juried group exhibit, College of Marin Gallery, Kentfield CA 1990 Juried group exhibit, Civic Plaza, Taos NM 1989 “It Figures” group show, Academy of Art, San Francisco CA 1988-2008 ICB Winter Open Studios, Sausalito CA 1986 Stackhouse Gallery, San Francisco CA 1986 “See, Hear, Speak” three person exhibit, Indian Valley College Gallery, Novato, CA 1982 One person exhibit, Rogers & Wells, San Diego CA 1979 One person exhibit, Federal Courthouse lobby, San Diego CA 1975 Juried group exhibit, Federal Courthouse lobby, San Diego CA 1975 One person exhibit, Mission Hills Yoga Institute, San Diego CA CORPORATE PATRONS Aiken-Sinaiko Law Offices, Sausalito, CA Alliance Capital Management, San Francisco CA Boeger Winery Inc., Placerville CA Phillip Burton Federal Building, San Francisco CA Doral Park Avenue Hotel, New York NY Espire Communication, Tulsa OK Federal Home Loan Bank, San Francisco CA Green Music Center, Rohnert Park CA Hansen Bridgett, San Francisco CA Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach CA Law Offices of J. Frank George APC, Fairfax CA Monterey Tides Hotel, Monterey, CA Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeny, San Francisco CA Tropicana Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV WestAmerica Bank, Sausalito, CA ART EDUCATION 1989-92 Academy of Art, San Francisco CA, Fine Art 1982-89 College of Marin, Kentfield CA, Fine Art 1978-80 UCSD San Diego CA, Graphic Arts 2007-2011 Summer Printmaking Intensives at Crown Point Press, San Francisco CA 1982-2011 Various Painting Mentors and private teachers in CA, NM, TX and Europe AFFILIATIONS Studio 300A Art, Owner (2017- ) Studio 300A Art + Architecture, Partner (2005 - 2016) College of Marin Symphony Orchestra, Cellist (2016- ) Marin Arts Council, Board Member (2011-12) ICB Artists Association, Founding Board Member and Treasurer (2007- ) Sausalito Arts Commission, Commissioner/Chair (2004-07) Sausalito Arts Commission Public Art Advisory Group Member (2004- ) Headlands Center for the Arts, Member (2000- ) El Paso Artists Association (2005- )


Profile for Seager Gray Gallery

Leslie Allen: Capacious Language  

Full color catalog of exhibition of paintings by Leslie Allen at Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA.

Leslie Allen: Capacious Language  

Full color catalog of exhibition of paintings by Leslie Allen at Seager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA.

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