• Elizabeth Hazard

Allen Harrison: Beauty, Inspiration, Abstraction

Allen Harrison: Beauty, Inspiration, Abstraction opens this week

at the Lois Lambert Gallery in Santa Monica, California


Allen Harrison, Hank, oil on panel, 62” x 42”



Now on view at the Lois Lambert Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA. is painter Allen Harrison’s latest body of work. As the title of the exhibit suggests, Harrison’s work is beautiful, inspirational and abstract. With the colors of the sky at night as a backdrop, he displays the intermingling of clouds with minute details. And just like the clouds in the sky, his work is always evolving.


These latest works have all been made within the last five years, His process of creating is quite unique and involves his interest in Tibetan paintings; a study he came across after discovering books on Tibetan Tangkok paintings. He speaks of this work:


"These are very stylized images of people that don't look realistic. I thought that I could make paintings of the ones that are compelling to me and embellish them without losing the image. I did these tracings, had them blown up, made copies at different sizes and made collages of them. That's where my paintings start; they have a mystique of these images. I project the landscape, clouds, etc. over these collage pieces. They run through one color, then into another shade. I cover the entire painting. I never try to make something that pops right out at you, but sometimes that happens."


Allen Harrison, Untitled, oil on panel, 48” x 48”



Harrison is cognizant of something an artist friend of his once made: A good artist always pulls you into their work, but never tries to tell you what to think. The California-born artist and teacher works out of his Burbank home studio, just steps away from his childhood home. He started doing abstract art and realized that he didn't really like what other artists were doing. He figured doing something apart from the norm was a good place to start. After discovering the work that photographer Alfred Stieglitz was capturing toward the end of his life, he felt drawn to cloud imagery. "I love this idea that you cannot physically touch clouds, they form in any way they want. I started looking around for ways to recreate these clouds in my work."


The exhibit at Lois Lambert Gallery runs until March 12. Gallery Director Lois Lambert spoke about this latest work of Harrison's and its depth. "I have been working with Allen for 20 years. Our relationship has turned into a friendship. Allen is such an extraordinary artist and person. Over the years his work has changed considerably, although the details and precision has remained steady. Time is not significant to Allen as he spends time painting 6 days a week, 6 to 8 hours a day. This new series that has developed over the last 5 years, is deeper, warmer and more significant than the previous, more angular work."


Allen Harrison, Winslow, oil on panel, 75” x 42”