​"These paintings trace the buzzing sounds that the bees in my mind have drawn in their journey to yet another flower in yet another garden."
The Wordless Book and other sounds

‘In his book: Où boivent les loups, Tristan Tzara writes:

Le marché du soleil est entré dans la chambre
Et la chambre dans la téte bourdonnette.

(The market of the sun has come into my room
And the room into my buzzing head.)

                                                                           In order to accept and hear this image, one must experience the strange whir of the sun as
                                                                           it comes into a room in which one is  alone,  for it is a fact that  the first  ray strikes the wall.
                                                                           These sounds will be heard  also-over  and beyond the  fact-by those who know that every
                                                                            one of the sun’s  rays carries with it bees.  Then everything starts  buzzing  and one’s head
                                                                            is a hive, the hive of the sounds of the sun.’ 1

These paintings trace the buzzing sounds that the bees in my mind have drawn in their journey to yet another flower in yet another garden. 


Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London, 1984; MVA, University of Alberta, 1990

Born in London, United Kingdom, Allen completed his undergraduate training at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (achieving First Class Honours in Painting and a commendation in Printmaking). As a Commonwealth Scholar, he graduated from the University of Alberta Master of Visual Arts program. An active visual artist and researcher, Allen has been honoured to receive awards from the Killam Trusts, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and Canada of Council of the Arts, among others, and is a Canadian War Artist, having served in the Sinai Peninsula in 2007. Allen’s works can be found in public and private local, national, and international collections, and have been featured in galleries throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, and Korea.

Allen’s painting practice is marked by discrete series that arise from conceptual and discursive ideas, particularly relating to subjectivity and representation. Always drawing on personal experiences and resisting a “signature” painting style, he consistently seeks methodologies that realize the crux of conceptual ideas. His projects reference photographic sources, often incorporating visual cultures beyond the Western canon of art, from decorative arts and abstract symbolism to religious iconography. This exploratory approach has driven him to screen-based projects, public art, photography, film, video, and digitally-mediated imagery. Across his works, Allen embraces collaborative opportunities to experience art as a socially intrinsic process.

He is currently Associate Dean of Student Programs in the Faculty of Arts, and Professor of Painting in the Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta.

1 Bachelard, Gaston.  The Poetics of Space.Boston: Beacon Press Books, 1994, p. 226-227.