Theodora Allen and the Celestial Body

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Known for her mystical depictions of flora and fauna inspired by Persian miniatures, as well as her gossamer-thin layers of celestially-toned paint, UCLA MFA grad Theodora Allen is currently making waves with her second solo exhibition, Vigil, at Culver City’s Blum & Poe.

The show is comprised of two separate bodies of work, The Cosmic Garden and The Candle. The former depicts sprouting plant life, a guitar, and various heavenly bodies, all bathed in moonlight and framed in arched windows. Here, the natural, human, and cosmic realms co-exist in a divine harmony. In the latter, viewers can spot the titular object in the center of these paintings as interlocking, atom-shaped spheres and geometric patterns enshrine this eternal symbol of hope.

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Theodora Allen, The Double Heart, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe.

As otherworldly as Allen’s subject matter is her command of the canvas through brushwork. There is no trace of the artist’s hand at work. (She is known to meticulously wipe away the excess of each layer before moving on to the next.) There is a ghostly feel to her paintings. Her works glow from within, conjuring up visions of medieval stained glass windows.

In both collections, there’s traces of William Blake’s Romantic movement, of the metaphysical preoccupations of 1970s Laurel Canyon. It’s a happy marriage of the two.

Her Jungian symbols of nature and the divine play out their struggle between dominance and unification. “Star Hole,” a poem of American novelist Richard Brautigan, was chosen as the epigraph for this exhibition. It reads, “I sit here on the perfect end of a star, watching light pour itself toward me. The light pours itself through a small hole in the sky. I’m not very happy, but I can see how things are far away.” How apt a contemplation for works such as these.

Theodora Allen: Vigil
Through August 19, 2017
Blum & Poe
2727 S. La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Emily Nimptsch

Emily Nimptsch

Emily Nimptsch is a freelance arts and culture writer living in Los Angeles. She has written for Flaunt, ArtSlant, Artillery, and produced blog content for Venice Beach’s L.A. Louver Gallery.