Born 1970 in Herber City, UT
Lives in Joshua Tree, CA
Alma Allen employs a wide variety of production techniques—from hand-carving to computer-assisted fabrication—to produce sculptures that at first seem formally simple but which are remarkably complex and beguiling. The artworks on view in the 2014 Biennial were produced, like much of his work, through an improvisatory method. Allen begins with the idea of a form; while he works toward that ideal, however, his process is often waylaid by breaks, fissures, and other unpredictable events that occur in the materials. Responding to these unplanned contingencies, he continues to sculpt until a final form emerges—most likely considerably different from what he originally envisioned.
Self-taught and working largely independently of any recognized art movement, Allen has nevertheless gained attention from the art world due to his impeccable sense of material and form. Although each of his pieces may resemble a touchstone of modernism, such as the iconic abstractions of Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957), ultimately Allen’s sculptures possess a highly personal yet mysterious allure all their own.
Alma Allen’s work is on view in the Museum’s fourth floor galleries.
2014 Biennial: Alma Allen
2014 Biennial artist Alma Allen discusses his process and use of natural materials from his studio in Joshua Tree, California.