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January 18, 2007

Photographer Thomas Allen at the Foley Gallery

Thomas Allen was another photographer we were lucky enough to check out this week at the Foley Gallery.

A relatively new photography focused gallery.. Gallery owner, Michael Foley, has already put together a group of up and coming young talent.
The Gallery also just started up it's very own blog   oh no..!! Not another new gallery with a blog!!Thomas_allen_maneater

In the Foley Gallery's latest show by Thomas Allen, Thomas has created staged photographs using vintage paperbacks books where he turned them into mini-film noir stills.. We found it very creative.

Many of his photo's even show the original paperback spline, title and author.
Most impressive was that Thomas has done all this with the use of no digital, or post-camera effects. Just using a little tape, wire, straight pins, and creative lighting he creates pop-up book style adult scenes. (photo #1, Maneater, 2006)

I know it's a stretch.. But, some of these even remind us of Cindy Sherman's Film Stills, just with 1950's technicolor, and much more male Hitchcock style.
The results are both funny, provocative and at times out right sexy. We found the work refreshing.

So it's no surprise the prestegious Aperture Foundation is publishing a book of Thomas' work in the fall..called.. what else but... Uncovered.  There are more Thomas Allen images here.. So, What do you think?? Love it? Hate it? Seen it all before?

Thomas_allen_distractionThese are also priced reasonably,

$2,000 for a 20 x 24" chromogenic print in an edition of 10

$4,000 for the larger 30" x 40" size in an edition of 5. (Photo #2, Distraction, 2006)

It's a show worth checking out this weekend if you're not lucky enough to be already on your way to Photo L.A.

There's also a nice story by Jean Dykstra about Thomas Allen's work in ART ON PAPER this month.

The Thomas Allen show is open at the Foley Gallery at 547 W 27th street, 5th floor until March 3rd.

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Hey MAO..
These look fun! I think I saw some of Thomas Allen's work at Photo NY this year..
Thanks for pointing out the new show.

Yo MAO - are you going to L.A.?

Hey DC..
No Photo LA for MAO.. I try to keep as far away from the Wrong coast as possible!!

How about you guys?? You going?

I'm going to L.A. but not for that reason! Won't be going to Photo L.A. if I can help it. My schedule is pretty full as I need to see some artists & galleries. And to get my hair done.

Hey MAO, Good to see you at Suellen's opening on Thursday!

Seriously, his hair is UNRULY! If only I could have that problem....

I've seen Thomas Allen's work a few times in the last several years. It's a clever, catchy gimmick, but that's all. No staying power. No insight. They're like David Levinthal's staged doll historical images. Very kitschy. He's better suited to be a staff illustrator at a news magazine.

Thomas Allen's photographs are endlessly fascinating as each one touches on the timeless themes of lust and betrayal, hidden desire, jealousy, rivalry, passion and paranoia. Each photograph is a gem...we are aware that the imagery is derived from out of print, rare books-- what is left of these entertaining little pulp novels in the used book bins of heartland America -if these collectables can even be found there anymore. That is also part of their charm. What Mr. Allen so cleverly proceeds to do with these intriguing characters--they pique our curiousity as they peer out to us from these provocative book covers-- is nothing short of genius. Through ingenious, cutting and positioning of the figures and his clever use of depth of field with his large view camera,the characters and their stories come to sudden life. Mr. Allen is an original in a sea of photographers who cannot always come up with an original style or idea. That in itself is comendable. Though the images are "playful" they can also be unsettling since they explore psychological themes and issues that are not entirely comfortable to experience. For some people (perhaps like KennyT?)these images stir feelings that one may wish to avoid and so the dont "get it" reaction. I wish Mr. Allen much succes in finding these increasingly rare-to-come-by books with which he creates his art, so we can see more!

I love these collages. I wouldn't call them photographs. Great mod-dada stuff. I generally hate the oh-so-hip "appropriators" who are too lazy to actually learn how to paint, draw, sculpt, make movies, etc. but Allen's stuff would look great in any mid-century downtown loft apartment. And isn't that the REAL function of art? To decorate yuppie interiors? ;-) The real "artists" of this work are the anonymous 50's illustrators, btw...

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