Transitions, Jere Allen
Southside Gallery will exhibit Transitions, a series of paintings by Jere Allen from April 4 – May 6. A reception for the artist will be held Thursday, April 27, 5 – 8 PM.
Transitions, a body of work that spans over the past five years and includes more than 30 paintings, guides viewers through Allen’s recent creative process. There is a wide visual spectrum of paintings in the exhibit. Some of the paintings are the quintessential Allen paintings that viewers have become familiar with over the years (these are the most recognizable paintings featuring figures or portraits with dark backgrounds behind them), while others integrate new palettes and themes (these are the paintings with the ethereal white backgrounds that have emerged over the past decade and an even newer selection of paintings from a larger series titled Toward Green). Of course, Allen’s style is unequivocal. As varied as these paintings are in regards to theme and palette, they all carry the artist’s imprint.
The paintings from Toward Green included in Transitions are about ecology. Allen emphasizes that the topic of ecology isn’t exclusive to the material sense of the word and some of these paintings are an excursion into an environmental consciousness that transcends the corporeal. The splashes and patches of green in these paintings spark energy and evoke a sense of renewal.
One common theme all of these paintings share is Allen’s use of symbolism. Symbolism is what drives his work. Allen uses a number of design elements that give his work symbolic meaning such as palette and composition, but some of his most successful paintings feature symbolic metaphors from mythological tales. Allen has an encyclopedic knowledge of mythologies from a number of different cultures and often incorporates them into his paintings. Psychopomps, an ancient concept of an animal that takes on the role of a spiritual guide to the afterlife, are almost ubiquitous in Allen’s works. He has also fused Native American mythology and motifs such as totems into his paintings.
Allen’s wife Joe Ann, who is also an artist, has been involved in selecting the paintings for Transitions. Her input has been critical to curating the show.
Allen received a BFA from Ringling School of Art, Sarasota, FL and an MFA from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is included in Who’s Who in American Arts, was part of a Group Studies Fulbright Grant in Costa Rica, is a recipient of the 1993 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Visual Arts Award, and an
Individual Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission.
He participated in the Outward Bound exhibition, a traveling exhibit that toured Beijing and Shanghai, China; Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Singapore. His work has been exhibited at the Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.; Stadtsche Galleria Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany; Der Kunstkreis Hamlen, Germany; Oldenburger Kunstverein, Oldenburg, Germany; National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.; and Carol Robinson Gallery, New Orleans, LA. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited in 35 states including exhibitions in the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Images 84, Louisiana World Exposition, New Orleans, LA; American Drawings II, Portsmouth Community Arts Center, Portsmouth, VA; WEST 79 and 80 / Art and Law, Minnesota Museum of Art, St Paul, MN; and the 36th Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, FL. Allen’s work is in the permanent collection of the Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR; the City of Hamlen, Germany; Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL; and the Robert I. Kahn Gallery of the Temple Emanu El, Houston, Tx; and others.
For more information, please contact Southside Gallery, 662.234.9090.