George William Allen, born in 1948, is an award winning artist whose works hang in public and private collections throughout the United States. Vern G. Swanson, Ph.D., a noted author of several art books and Director of the Springville Museum of Art, which houses the primary collection of Utah representational art, describes George Allen’s work:
The artist’s pigmentation is rich and succulent, while his brushwork is bold and responsive. He is a figurative artist who powerfully probes his setter’s personalities. I like his continued studies into different genres. Lately he has painted still-lives; florals, vegetables and fruits. These too are painted with bravura and sensitivity. I have known George Allen for twelve years in my capacity as Director of a Museum specializing in contemporary realism. During that time he has entered and been accepted in numerous major exhibitions here and regionally. Awards have followed him, both at the Springville Museum of Art and elsewhere.
George Allen has lived and studied art in France, where he became directly acquainted with European art. He has also studied with Zheng Wen Xin, one of China’s foremost representational oil painters, Alvin Gittins, Utah’s most famous portrait and figurative artist, and Daniel Greene, the well known New York portrait and figurative painter. His work has also been inspired and influenced by Michaelangelo, Nicolai Fechin, David Leffel and Ann Marie Oborn. Like Nicolai Fechin, George Allen has been drawn to New Mexico, its people, and its strong tradition of supporting the arts. Although he is now a full time artist, for twelve years George Allen taught art at Salt Lake Community College, including still life painting, advanced painting, life drawing, and anatomy. His classes were always in high demand. He still teaches still life and life drawing workshops around the country, attended by many accomplished artists that have established reputations in their own right. His work has been featured in “Utah Artists,” a respected book of work from Utah’s best artists.
Art is George Allen’s breath and passion. In his own words, he describes why he is an artist:
I believe that an artist’s final work is a depiction of his or her impressions--emotionally, physically, intellectually, and above all, artistically. Hopefully the viewer will be able to sense and enjoy the impressions I am trying to convey, in each aspect of my paintings—from the subject matter to the color, strokes, texture, and treatment of light—you will find my personal signature. This is my interpretation of art as I believe it should be: enduring, evocative, consistent, and memorable.
My signature is the culmination of years of study and practice with drawing and oil painting, intermingled with joyous triumphs and at times unbearable failures. My love for this profession has motivated me to get back up after a failure and try yet again to get it right. Like the concert pianist, whose devotion to music and years of painstaking practice enable him to reward his audience with a powerful experience, I am driven not only out of personal fulfillment but out of a desire to share the art experience and enrich lives.
I have been painting seriously for many years, most of which time has been devoted to study and artistic self discovery. My true “statement,” or, the summation of my beliefs and objectives on art, is a work in progress. Sometimes it is easier to say what it is not (faddish, contemporary, realistic, etc.) than to say what it is since much of that remains subjective and falls to the discretion of the person interpreting it. Most of my pieces are the result of allowing my thoughts to conduct me through the paint-to-canvas process. Because my thoughts are ever-changing as my life takes different turns, even I am often surprised at the final work. Through the years I have started having conversations with my work. I am no longer reluctant to wipe off or scrape out areas that seem to be working, but perhaps not for the overall good. I continue to push paint in new ways that suit my painting instead of my immediate impulse. By listening to the creative process, I find I have become unlimited in my ability. My work continues to evolve as I experience new things; even so, my values on what makes art great remain constant.
I have become the consummate observer of other artists, learning to hone those positive impressions of their styles and techniques, and allowing it to filter through to form my own expression. I am an artistic bandit if you will, stealing and interpreting the strengths of the many great painters who have and continue to influence me.
As with all painting I observe, I discern what it is about them—both good and bad—that stands out. The techniques of several artists, including Alvin Gittins, Zheng Wen Xin, Ann Marie Oborn, David Lafell, and Nicolai Fechin have had the greatest influence on my style. I admire Alvin Gittins for his draftsmanship, Zheng Wen Xin for his shapely brush strokes and focal point theory, and Ann Marie Oborn’s ability to make each stroke profound. I borrowed parts of David Lefell’s painterly approach and his unique take on realism, and the great Nicolai Fechin’s courageous ability to evoke spirit and life in his finished work. I would feel gratified to know that these influences could be recognized in my own art.
George William Allen 2004