Adrien Allen
27.09.19 – 12.10.19

Nearnesses are studies in proximity – studies in being close, but not quite close enough. The material surface is explored as a seemingly contradictory condition – both pictorial and sculptural, impervious and porous.

Imagery is sourced from photographic fragments of my late mother’s paintings, screen-printed onto ‘Interface’ textile fabric, then reversed.

Presenting the ‘verso’ could be an act of effacement, even denial, but here the back is not so much a rejection of the front, but a nearness to both.

“The neutral is the back, but a back that shows without attracting attention, it doesn’t hide but doesn’t show.” (Roland Barthes, The Neutral).

Nearnesses attempt to float, somewhere in limbo, between what’s apparent and what’s hidden, in nearness to both, but not able to be with either.


Adrien founded and directed Conical, beginning in 2001 as an artist run initiative and since evolving into a curator-led project space, concluding in 2013. Working specifically within the context of Conical as a form of evolving practice, Adrien incorporated both practitioner and curatorial roles with a focus on spatial, temporal and conceptual movements. Adrien developed strong relationships with public art organizations, arts festivals, universities and funding bodies and received numerous Aust Council and Arts Vic grants. Other activities include: Aust Council peer assessor, MFA assessor for VCA and Monash, Hopkins Property Design competition winner and The Dulux National Colour Award for Public Spaces (both with architect Stephen Staughton). Adrien completed his MFA at VCA in 2002, has written various catalogue essays and exhibited at Westspace, Conical, Five Walls, with group exhibitions at Conical and Margaret Lawrence Gallery. His most recent curatorial project was ‘Deep Surface’ at Five Walls in 2017.

(click to enlarge)

Images: Christian Capurro