Artist’s Statement

I was born in New York City in 1952 and went to both private and public schools. I began taking figure drawing at the Art Students League when I was 12.

My father was a very gifted artist, studied with Hans Hoffman, and--having been born in 1909-- explored all the rich artistic territory covered by members of his generation, the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Through his influence, everything from social realism and regionalist type landscape, to surrealism, collage, drip painting and all in between became part of my vocabulary.  Early on I became entranced with Italian Renaissance art and spent many hours of my childhood drawing copies of the figures of Michelangelo, Titian, Tintoretto, Leonardo, Pallaioullo Signiorelli and El Greco from my parent's collection of art books. I didn't see this as trying to learn anything, it was just a kind of compulsion to be able to produce things with the same kind of force, power and beauty I saw in their work. Of course, I inadvertently learned a great deal. I also unconsciously absorbed a very high standard for my work.  Later, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Picasso, Soutine, Miro, Matisse, Gorky, DeKooning, Pollock & Guston became important influences.

Ultimately, my interior compass sought concordance with my surroundings. The Art that was created in New York by my father's generation felt the most true to my experiences. So I am, a third generation Abstract Expressionist, Action Painter, New York School Painter, what have you. What I bring to the language that's new and different is use of certain 16th century Venetian painting materials and methods, a search to establish a kind of boundless, open space, and an interplay of solidity and translucency of form. I also aim to invest my work with emotional truth and formal aesthetic and historical weight .

Cezanne is quoted as having said, "I want to make of impressionism an art like that of the museums.” Like me, he had fallen under the spell of the 16th century Venetians, particularly Veronese, and he was looking for a way to achieve the kind of solidity, spaciousness, obsessive traversal of the surface of things and grandeur, present in Veronese’s work.

Philip Allen (Contemporary)
Oil on linen
70 x 48 inches


Philip Allen (Contemporary)
Frazier's Leap
46 in. x 32 in.


Philip Allen (Contemporary)
PILLAR, 2010
Oil on canvas

50 x 36 inches


In like form, I want to make of Abstract Expressionism, "an art like that of the museums." Of course, it already is an art ensconced in mainstream thought and certainly in the museums. The question for me is whether or not this particular language remains vital, whether it contains the ability to create new and surprising and profound images. My judgment has been that it does, and so I push on.

My work is in the collections of the former director of the Whitney Museum, David Ross, Ted Stebbins,  former Curator of Contemporary American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the collection of a late curator for the Menil Collection and the Guggenheim Museum, Walter Hopps, 

I taught painting and materials usage and techniques in the Fine Arts Department of Parsons for a decade, and also was a faculty member at The School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Additionally, I have been a visiting artist at RISD, The School of Visual Arts, NYU, and others.

 I have been a recipient of an NEA grant, a New York State Council on the Arts Award (under its CAPS program), a Tiffany Foundation Award, and an Award in the Visual Arts (AVA).

 I studied at The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture with Mercedes Matter, George McNeil, Jack Tworkov, Paul Georges and had seminars with Wayne Thiebaud and Philip Guston. I also studied at the Art Students League with Will Barnett and Theodoros Stamos.