Spotlight: On the Heels of Mexico City Museum Solo, Alma Allen Sculptures Alight in New York

Alma Allen is currently the subject of an eponymous solo show with Kasmin, featuring all new work.

Studio installation view of Alma Allen sculptures. Photo: Alejandro Ramirez Orozco. Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York.

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What You Need to Know: Kasmin gallery is currently presenting its third solo exhibition of work by Alma Allen, featuring a dynamic selection of new sculptures. The works on view include pieces cast in bronze, created in the artist’s own studio foundry, and pieces carved in stone, with stone having been sourced from the region around his studio in Tepotzlán, Mexico. Stylistically, Allen’s sculptures appear at once ancient and futuristic, bringing together both organic shapes and surprising arrangements and finishes. The collection of sculptures are in effect a continuation of a series of artistic imperatives that Allen began pursuing for his exhibition “Nunca Solo” at the Museo Anahuacalli, Mexico City, wherein he explored the parallels and overlaps between physical forms and themes of free will, consciousness, and time.

Installation view of “Alma Allen: Nunca Solo” (2024) at Museo Anahuacalli, Mexico City. Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York.

About the Artist: American sculptor Alma Allen (b. 1970) was born in Utah, and currently lives and works in Tepoztlán, Mexico, where he maintains an expansive studio capable of producing his large-scale bronze and stone sculptures. Much of his work begins with small, hand-molded maquettes, which he shapes intuitively, employing a process similar to the Surrealist’s method of automatism. Translating these small-scale pieces into large bronze, stone, or wood sculptures, Allen alternately uses both traditional techniques of carving and shaping as well as modern technology like a self-built robotic device. In 2020, Rizzoli Electa published his first monograph, and in 2022 his sculptures graced the central plaza at Rockefeller Center, New York. Allen’s sculptures have also been acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Inside view of the Alma Allen studio, full of bronze sculptures in front of a rollup door.

Inside the studio of Alma Allen in Tepoztlán, Mexico. Photo: Diego Flores. Courtesy of Kasmin, New York.

Why We Like It: Each of Allen’s sculptures simultaneously convey a sense of monumentality and mass as well as intimacy. That he uses hand-scale maquettes as a starting point is apparent in the gestural elements of each work’s composition; the pressure from a thumb, rolled out, cord-like projections, playful curls, together make the hand of the artist apparent, despite being made in bronze or stone that exceeds what the human hand alone could make. The result is a contemplative, reflective experience for viewers, who can visually trace while circumventing each work how Allen physically handled and shaped the form, and gain insight into the base consciousness that goes into sculpting matter. The direct action of making and process, as much as finished work, becomes a core element of the work, and speaks to Allen’s continuing exploration of consciousness and free will.

See featured works below.

Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled (2024). Photo: Charlie Rubin. Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York.

Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled (2024). Photo: Charlie Rubin. Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York.

Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled (2024). Photo: Charlie Rubin. Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York.

Alma Allen” is on view through June 22, 2024, at Kasmin, 509 West 27th Street, New York.

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