The otherworldly, anthropomorphic works by the American sculptor Alma Allen have been steadily capturing imaginations since he first gained wider recognition at the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Known for his exquisite manipulations of materials like wood, stone, bronze, and recurring motifs such as body organs, the shapes of particles and other organic matter, the self-taught artist debuts a new body of work of an unprecedented scale at New York gallery Kasmin this week.
Comprising 12 large-scale sculptures, including a bronze that measures five meters at its highest point, the new pieces create a unique dialogue with the architecture of the gallery. Ranging from bronze sculptures displaying an unnerving malleability to the use of unexpected stones such as peach onyx, obsidian and green cantera, Allen’s works are psychologically charged, yet effortlessly expressive and reflect the artist’s inherent curiosity about the life of objects.
Of his work, Allen reflects, ‘I’m interested in describing a moment or an instant, not necessarily an archetypal thing. I like to capture things in-between that are still progressing beyond the moment I make them. I’m interested in that split second. They are a moment in the life of something rather than a symbol for something, they are more a symbol for an idea or feeling.’‘They are often in the act of “doing”: the objects are in the act of perpetrating something, they are going away, or leaving or interacting with something invisible, or squishing,’ he adds. ‘Even though they are static as objects, they are not static in my mind. A block of stone I carve is sagging or tipping or rocking. Almost always something is interacting on them that is not visible. In my mind, they are part of a much larger universe.’