Mark Michael Leonhart

The New Art Examiner  Review

 This delicate synthesis of linear and organic abstraction maintains the regional tradition of singular artistic vision white it borrows and develops aspects of other aesthetics as they suit the purpose.  “Tiny Stage”, exquisitely illustrates Allen’s ability to work within a strict linear style, but his developments in fantastic individualism are even more pleasing to the eye.  “Magic Window Landscape No. 5”,  is a particularly fine example of Allen’s
style––a congruent composition of his motifs, formal balance and accomplished coloring. While the drawings are mostly black and white, each has a patch of color from the iridescent range and even the shading shines.  Allen’s application of black is particularly sensuous.

1980     July The New Art Examiner  Review of Les' 1980 exhibition at Gallery Bernal at 612 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The show was reviewed by writer Mark Michael Leonhart. Article title: “Les Allen Drawings”.

Les Allen is an intriguing abstractionist. His nineteen new drawings exhibit the solid draughtsmanship, rendering and command of a well-trained artist.
    The strictly derivative,  “Hold Still”  drawing is a direct tribute to Ellen Layon’s world of exotic insects and water plants, but in other works Allen abandons that approach while retaining the
Imagist fondness for personal motif. Recurring elements include linear patterns: arced lines like those of Julie Richman, dotted and continuations like highway stripes, op art swirls, colored hatch marks, prismatic progressions of color fields, amoebic form, pattens of woven ligaments. Titular preoccupation landscape (Large Motif Landscape, Tiny Exterior Landscape) is shared with lyrical abstraction, but Allen’s work is more visionary. A favorite device is the Magic Window, similar in shape to the television screen, its frame an organic decoration enclosing an abstract but fantastic scene.  

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