DELANEY ALLEN // a r t i f a c t

On view April 6–May 9, 2016
Opening reception Sunday, April 10 (3–6PM)

Breaking from the biographical narratives that entwined his earlier work, Delaney Allen’s fifth solo exhibition at Nationale, A R T I F A C T, revels in fabrication. The collection of new photographs and objects on view read like the exoticized findings of an anthropological survey. However, the works also remain firmly tethered to the artist’s obvious structural manipulations and singular imagination. Allen, in this manner, straddles the seemingly oppositional roles of both the discoverer and the other. 

Within this dichotomy, Allen favors abstraction and disguise to further blur the lines between fact and fiction. His landscapes immediately recall such familiar locales as the California desert or the Pacific Northwest rainforest. However, his use of dramatic lighting and tight compositions question such easy readings by casting an otherworldly effect upon the familiar. The faces of his subjects are similarly hidden or blacked out. Within his eerie settings, they appear like aliens caught by chance upon the camera’s lens. Allen’s portraits meanwhile function as evidence of a new culture for which we do not yet understand the visual codes. Inspired by art historical portraiture, his subjects often assume a seated position of power while their colorful costumes hint at ceremonial importance. As with every work displayed, Allen avoids the naturalistic within these photographs, understanding that the fragmentary and the mystical best embody a spirit.

Born in Fort Worth, TX, Delaney Allen received his MFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2010. His photographs have been shown nationally and internationally, most notably at Foam Museum in Amsterdam, NL. His first publication, Between Here And There, was on Photo-Eye Magazine’s “Best Of” list of 2010 and featured in the 10x10 American Photobook display at the Tokyo Institute of Photography in 2013. That same year, Allen was listed on Magenta’s Flash Forward emerging photographers list and was selected to attend photographer Alec Soth’s Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers. Allen currently lives and works in Portland, OR. He joined Nationale as a represented artist in the spring of 2011. 

Gabi Lewton-Leopold catches up with Delaney Allen HERE

A R T I F A C T featured on Oregon ArtsWatch "Early spring 2016 visual arts picks" via Travel Portland