What Is Nothingness?

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Allen Hansen: The Atmosphere of Nothingness / Or 0 

LICHTUNDFIRE, 175 Rivington Street, New York, NY

"You’re going to have two jobs for the rest of your life -- can you accept that?"

This is what someone said to me before I headed off for the East Coast from Kentucky back in 1987, to paint and study art history. So, the question is -- how do we move forward and remain passionate in an environment that has now become so economically driven that the forest and the trees seem to have been left in the rear view?

Allen Hansen has remained true to his calling as a visual artist, a painter's painter. What most don’t seem to grasp in today’s breakneck non-organic art world is that one of those "jobs" is unconventional -- it's faith and practice.

Hansen's painting is a dark, warm sublime. He has moved forward from landscape into his own vast horizon, developing lush abstractions that play on a cool palette that’s as warm as everyone's radiators kicking in this month. His balance is near-to perfect, absolutely his own, and the result of years of development, focus, and dedication.

Allen arrived in New York in 1979 from California, and after getting a "do everything" internship with Mary Boone (the second job), he had found his Oz and never looked back. This was a completely different time for the contemporary art world in New York, romantic and community driven. I spoke with Allen about this recently, and he considers himself fortunate to have been active during that time; and it was this experience that steered him to the business of professional logistics and art moving for the past thirty years, landing him today at SRI Fine Art Services as Head of Client Relations.

This is another reason I wanted to contribute commentary on his most recent series of seven works from 2018 that were on view at Lichtundfire last month. When I am not researching or writing about the art world, I too work within it, in my case at Gander & White. These positions are demanding, and from my own experience, one can only survive them by having a certain brand of conviction, and an understanding of the artists, collectors, and galleries that manage to exist within its unique ecosystem.  The fact that he was able to produce these artworks in the midst of helping others navigate the complexities of today’s commercial art culture is a highly impressive prospect.

Allen mentioned to me that after many years of life lessons, he now balances his painting life and his daily work from a house in Asbury Park, New Jersey that he and his wife bought fifteen years ago, and where they keep his studio and their sanity. Many come to New York to practice art every day, but very few manage to stick it out like Allen has for forty years.  To see his latest work is a testament to something not so easily and not so often well done. Good Show!

Allen Hansen is also represented in New York by Carter Burden Gallery.  We will look for more work coming in 2019.

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