Exhibition of works by Alma Allen span two of Kasmin's locations in Chelsea
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Exhibition of works by Alma Allen span two of Kasmin's locations in Chelsea
Installation view.

NEW YORK, NY.- Kasmin is presenting an exhibition of work by sculptor Alma Allen (b. 1970) spanning two of the gallery’s locations in Chelsea, New York. The presentation in the Kasmin Sculpture Garden constitutes the artist’s first ever exhibition dedicated to large-scale outdoor sculpture. The exhibition continues at 514 West 28th Street with over twenty small-scale bronzes—works that function as both articulations of the polymorphous nature of Allen’s sculptural alphabet and as proposals for future large-scale works. By contextualizing these works amongst one another, the presentation demonstrates the variety of embodied forms that find expression through the artist’s hand.

Allen’s connection to the natural world and its expressive possibilities goes back to his childhood in Utah, where a close proximity to the desert allowed the artist stretches of time roaming, whittling wood, and hand-carving stones that he found in the landscape. Unique, talismanic and intent on an interior life, Allen’s works are generously spirited and delightfully ambiguous despite their myriad formal, organic, and surrealist references. Many of them adopt the language of living things, caught germinating, hibernating, or evolving, conjured as though in a moment of becoming. Allen has said, “The sculptures are often in the act of doing something: They are going away, or leaving, or interacting with something invisible. Even though they seem static as objects, they are not static in my mind. In my mind they are part of a much larger universe. They are interacting with each other as well, with works I made 20 years ago.”

Allen’s process begins with his instinctive hand-sculpting of intimately-scaled model clay or wax forms. Worked and reworked, these emerge gradually, along with their outcrops and eccentricities, as if asserting an individual existential will. The artist casts and finishes the sculptures using his own foundry on site at his studio in the hills of Tepoztlán, Mexico. While the works emanate a proud visual sumptuousness, collaborating beautifully with natural light, it is their magnetic tactility that defines them. Bronze, for all its heft, is rendered feather-light in large-scale works that unfurl towards the sky as if they still retain their former liquidity; not-quite-spheres sit squat like dew drops, bursting with latent energy. Surfaces are particularly expressive for Allen—the finishing of a bronze work, which the artist has compared to painting, includes welding smaller pieces together, brazing, polishing, and developing expressive chemical patinas.

Pairing small-scale works with the monumental, the exhibition highlights Allen’s sculptural ambition and the variance in possibilities that his forms embody. Presented in the elevated Kasmin Sculpture Garden amongst a newly rewilded urban meadow, the artist’s works remain appropriately in conversation with nature, bringing elegant, biomorphic lines to the Chelsea skyline.

Alma Allen (b. 1970, USA) participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial where he gained recognition and a wider discovery of his work. Recent group exhibitions include Object & Thing at Noyes House (2020), Handheld at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2018), and Gold Rush at the de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, CA (2016). In Conversation: Alma Allen & J.B. Blunk, a two-person exhibition that began at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA (February 2018), traveled to the Nevada Museum of Art in Spring 2019.

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