Alchemy Gallery opens a solo show featuring the vibrant, fantastical works of Christina Allan

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Alchemy Gallery opens a solo show featuring the vibrant, fantastical works of Christina Allan
SIREN CAPTURED, 2022, 65 x 55 inch, acrylic on canvas.

NEW YORK, NY.- After her sold out debut in Alchemy Gallery’s June group exhibition, Fem, the gallery is presenting DEAD SEA, a solo show featuring the vibrant, fantastical works of Christina Allan. This show builds on a recurring character in Allan’s work - the skeleton motif - for a series of paintings that unveil a world of spiritual creatures lurking in the depths of the deep sea which exude a bioluminescent-quality, created by Allan’s energetic painting technique that blends bold and hazy spray-painted and airbrushed forms. The glowing, vivid lifeforms and surrealistic elements captured by Allan, illuminate a dark dream-like ocean atmosphere and underworld in DEAD SEA, which will be on view from September 7th through October 8th.

DEAD SEA was born from a personal and collective curiosity about the mysterious nature of the ocean, much of which remains undiscovered and unexplored to this day. It’s the home for some of the most ancient creatures on the planet capable of surviving in extreme environments, and some producing the only light found in deep depths. It’s a dark world, populated with alien-like habitats and creatures able to adapt to near-darkness with large eyes and peculiar camouflage. The curiosity for the unknown, a recurring theme in Allan’s work, has been a topic explored throughout history. The sea, in particular, has been feared and fantasized, through avenues including ancient folk tales of deep sea creatures to horror films depicting otherworldly, frightening beings.

As such, this exhibition communicates the awe, sublime, and sense of greatness that the sea and its inhabitants evoke (known and unknown), and the mysteries and secrets that nature holds. For Allan, the series revisits her childhood and present-day fascination with sea life and fantasy, and creates a world where both lightness and darkness, and good and evil thrive. It imagines a place in which spiritual, grotesque and fantastical creatures might exist and evolve, and the power dynamics and structures of such a world.

In DEAD SEA, creatures float in a realm of darkness and glow off the canvas with electric hues. More specifically, in her painting, Shell Rider, a skeletal creature rides a surrealistic seashell car that illuminates its way through the darkness, and other sea life, with an electric blue light, while in Siren Captured the scene depicts a skeletal siren hybrid wearing a glowing medallion being attacked and held captive by eel-like monsters with fluorescent gold chains. The series of paintings portrays an imperfect world filled with bliss, power, survival, conflict and terror.

As for her process, every artwork in the exhibition was originally composed by Allan as a digital painting in Photoshop, then translated into larger scaled works on canvas using an airbrush, spray paint, and acrylic paint. The result is a series that recreates a digital aesthetic and presents airbrushed forms with a hazy, energetic glow that mimics bioluminescent light.

Christina Allan (b. 1995, Toronto) received her BFA in Painting from Parsons the New School for Design in 2017. Known for her highly expressive and vibrant paintings, Allan’s work expresses profound aspects of the human experience, including the classic existential struggle. From dramatic mythical scenes to introspective psychological portraits, her work populates a world of fantastical creatures within dream-like natural landscapes. Similar to how ancient mythological deities served as answers to the mysteries of a meaningless world and universe, Allan’s paintings present an in-between space and state – an escape from an absurd quotidian existence. Her paintings can be found in private collections throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

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