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The luminosity and boldness of Jenni Allen’s colour palate further supports the celestial dimension of her imagery, whilst gold shines directly from the sun, it is as though the fluorescent hues fly in from other galaxies, piercing surfaces like starlight; the black becomes the darkness of night and the mystery of holes punctured through space, even death. The Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky combines such brightness and dark in Several Circles of 1926, a painting that brims with kinetic energy and could equally convincingly be described as the splitting of individual cells, or as the beginnings of multiple solar systems. At once simple and expansively complex, along with that of Kandinsky, Allen’s work readily recalls that of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusuma. During the mid 1950s, Kusuma made a series of small intricate works that depict what appear to be planetary treasures suspended in blackened space; most are titled only by number but one made in 1953 is called Dots on the Sun. Like Allen, Kusuma repeats the motif of the dot, the disc, the circle and the hole, throughout her oeuvre. Symbolic of the cycle of life and of an interest in primordial shared experience, the interlocking round repeats on a vast scale in Kusuma’s late 1950s 'Infinity Net' paintings. The inner vision of both Kusuma and Allen manifests in an outer depiction of the endless, ongoing and the meditative.


Like Wassily Kandinsky and the Swedish painter Hilma af Klint - and as the recent works Flip and Shift show, as well as Framework before them - Allen is equally fascinated by the triangle. And as the circle becomes a sphere, the triangle becomes a pyramid and we remember ancient Egyptian ancestors and times when societies were matriarchal and mystical ways of perceiving the world were respected. The triangle also immediately makes one think of balance, and of just how hard it is to keep psychological balance throughout a lifetime. Even the most robust of all structures, the pyramid, can be quickly de-stabilised if turned from its base and onto its pinnacle highest point, an exercise that Allen plays out in Flip...




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The Threads that bind us, 2017

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