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Matthew Allen

Though his works are modest in scale one immediately registers that their proportions Matthew Allen’s paintings are carefully dictated. The fine linen weave is folded immaculately around the ample support, negating some of the distractions that orthodox supports can present. But Allen is a painter and doesn’t wish to disguise that fact. The face of these new works behave a little like mill ponds, shimmery and clear one minute and dark and foreboding the next. The feeling one has close to these polished graphite surfaces shifts between a steely, obdurant constitution and fragile meniscus. This shift is not only driven by the play of light across their faces but also depends on our position. Reflections are fugitive and unstable despite the solidity of the form and it is this impermanence and fluidity that Allen is pursuing. The size too of Allen’s work reinforces this obligation. Little more and at times less than the scale of our face these works are for solitary contemplation. Like a miniature they are to be seen privately, quietly and at close range. Against the current fashion for scale and theatre the modesty of his works invite a direct relationship with the viewer.