Phillip Allen


11th February - 25th March 2017

Phillip Allen 
Deepdrippings (International Version) 2017
oil on board
183 x 183 cm / 72 x 72 in   

Phillip Allen, Chin Music (Soft Octopus Version), 2016, oil on board, 152 x 122 cm / 59.8 x 48 in  

Phillip Allen, Deepdrippings (Earfood Version), 2017, oil on board, 64 x 54 cm / 25.2 x 21.3 in

Phillip Allen, Sluglimo (Art of the Stomach Version), 2016, oil on board, 30 x 26 cm / 11.8 x 10.2 in

Phillip Allen, Bombay Soutin, 2016, oil on board, 26 x 30 cm / 10.2 x 11.8 in   

Phillip Allen, Deepdrippings (we can’t make coffee like the continentals version), 2016, oil on board, 152 x 122 cm / 59.8 x 48 in  

Phillip Allen, Deepdrippings (Solar Quiet Version), 2016, oil on board, 153 x 122 cm / 60.2 x 48 in

Phillip Allen, Ghetto anglaise, 2016, oil on board, 61 x 55 cm / 24 x 21.7 in   

Phillip Allen, Austin Midnite, 2016, oil on board, 26 x 30 cm / 10.2 x 11.8 in   

Phillip Allen, Deepdrippings (Ghetto Anglaise Version), 2016, oil on board, 152 x 122 cm / 59.8 x 48 in  

Phillip Allen, Theoplienge, 2016, oil on board, 26 x 30 cm / 10.2 x 11.8 in  

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday 10 February, 6–8pm [Facebook Event]


Kerlin Gallery is delighted to present Deepdrippings, an exhibition of new paintings by Phillip Allen. The exhibition will open with a reception in the company of the artist on the evening of Friday 10 February. 


Since graduating from art college in London in the early 1990s, Phillip Allen has pursued a path in painting that has taken him from illusionistic, semi-figurative landscapes, to arriving over the past decade at total abstraction. Consistent throughout the evolution of Allen's practice has been his fascination with the sculptural qualities of paint. This has never been more evident than in his new series, Deepdrippings, where the artist has intensively worked and re-worked the paintings, in some cases for several years, to create a deeply layered surface abundant with impasto paint.


While previous work has seen Allen play with pictorial tradition, using framing devices to challenge the viewer's perception of space and depth, these new paintings privilege surface over illusion. Shapes and forms buzz and hover as if in mid-air; jostling for our attention, rather than receding into the distance. Deepdrippings is an exploration of density, with tar-like globules almost fizzing on the surface of the paintings. This is intensified in Allen’s highly condensed smaller paintings, which in their minute brilliance recall neutron stars – the smallest but most densely packed celestial objects in existence, of which a teaspoon-sized amount would weigh about 10 million tonnes.


The new work presented in Deepdrippings marks a significant development in Allen’s practice, but as pointed out by the art critic John Yau (Hyperallergic), ‘For all the radical changes that Allen has made … his long preoccupation with paint as matter has become increasingly evident.’ 


Phillip Allen graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 1992. Recent solo exhibitions include Dolph Projects (2016); The Approach, London (2014, 2011 & 2008); Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (2013, 2009 & 2005); Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (2007, 2005); Milton Keynes Gallery, UK (2006); and MoMA PS1, New York (2003).  International group shows include CCA Andratx, Mallorca (2012); Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong SAR (2011); Fabio Tiboni arte Contemporanea, Bologna, Italy; The City Gallery, Leicester, UK (2009); Tate Britain, London (2009) and the British Art Show 6.

For further information, please contact Rosa Abbott,

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The Irish Times

‘Deepdrippings’: Painterly explorations that are both object and surface

21 February 2017


Phillip Allen’s Deepdrippings is an exceptional exhibition: focused, intelligent, lively and conceptually rich. … [It] consolidates his position as one of the sharpest, liveliest painters working today.

- Aidan Dunne

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The Sunday Independent

What Lies Beneath: Deepdrippings (International Version) by Phillip Allen

6 March 2017

Allen's recent work, Deepdrippings, now showing at the Kerlin Gallery, until March 25, displays great control and confidence. The temptation is to touch; the eye ranges and roams over the singing, seductive image with a delicious pleasure, over the brushwork and pure, exuberant squiggles as if straight from the tube: "A brush is always used somewhere in the making. I do apply paint directly from the tube but it always has some kind of encounter with a brush. I use various size rigger brushes which are for water colours. I like them when they get splayed and ungainly, this is then perfect for me," Allen says. He works on a few paintings at a time. What about the ones that don't work out? Do you abandon, rework? "My paintings are continually not working out. I have a stack of them in my studio and every now and then I do a purge and throw loads out." And that title? "Deepdrippings was initially an auto correct on my phone that went wrong but I liked the associations."

- Niall MacMonagle

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Phenomenal Phillip

15 March 2017

The work places a huge emphasis on surface quality and texture, and while certain framing devices are still at play, primarily in the smaller works where Allen densely builds up the edge of the canvas allowing the inner image, a scraped flat and almost ‘cut out’ section, to playfully recede, the primacy of the materiality and density of the paint is the overpowering quality of the work. It is the larger canvases, however, particularly the two that sit in isolation at either end of the gallery, that really hold the viewer in thrall, almost forcing a considered encounter. They act like magnetic anchors, they push or pull the viewer from one end of the gallery to the other, as you casually encounter the smaller, and admittedly less interesting works, as if out of necessity, until you reach the desired destination of the larger, more consuming end pieces.

- Ruaidhrí Kelly

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The Sunday Times

Phillip Allen – Deepdrippings

19 March 2017

The term “trippy” was made redundant in the early 1970s, but on being confronted by Phillip Allen’s new show at the Kerlin Gallery one is tempted to re-employ it. Gaze long enough into a painting such as Chin Music (Soft Octopus Version) and you’ll find it gazing into you, like Nietzche’s abyss. Allen is an English artist who has been showing at the Kerlin since 2005. As befits someone who lectures on art, he is not afraid to change tack and sail off in a new direction. His last three shows could almost be by three different artists were it not for one recurring feature. The title of the current show, Deepdrippings, suggests Jackson Pollock, and the intertwining ribbons of black paint and splashes of colour confirm the connection. But Allen’s work is more condensed, more intimate and intense, eschewing the macho scale of the American abstract expressionist. In many of the smaller pieces the image is framed by his trademark thick border of impasto. This draws you into his disorientating cosmic visions, where your eyes dance around trying to find purchase amid the swirling riot of paint.

- John P O’Sullivan

The Visual Artists' News Sheet

Phillip Allen – Deepdrippings

March–April 2017

Phillip Allen’s exhibition ‘Deepdrippings’ comprises a series of paintings with intensely worked and highly textured surfaces. The material of paint is both subject matter and medium. This exploration of paint’s materiality can be traced through the artist’s earlier work, where thick globs of impasto paint were used as framing devices for the pictorial spaces within them. Where Allen’s earlier works often explored quasi-figurative spaces or referenced the genre of landscape, these new paintings display an ‘all-overness’ that operates beyond pictorial space.


- Alison Pilkington

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