Michael Allen

BFA, Photography

Artist Statement

Surrounded by dwindling social interactions as a result of lockdowns and health considerations with COVID-19, I spent a significant portion of 2020 sitting, feeling lost in the place called home. As the world has moved into 2021, there appears to be hope on the horizon, but the lingering mental and neurological effects from prolonged periods of isolation remain. As an artist, I tend to lean into the scholarship and research of a piece to the detriment of the emotional connection with the work. 2020 pushed back on that tendency, and what I have since discovered about myself is a distinct uneasiness that exists in the familiar.

This series of images is an exploration of my emotional and physical discomfort. As we, globally, continue to push towards healing in the wake of COVID-19, I am striving to break into my inner sanctum of suppressed emotions, attempting to parse what I can only describe as existential chaos. Images range from staged moments of quirkiness or discomfort to non-staged isolations of tense moments. Utilizing humor, whimsy, and an unwillingness to take myself “too seriously”, I am continuing the hunt for the socially prescribed maturity I have been so unwilling to engage with.

Biography

Michael Allen was born in 1987 in Rockford, IL. In 2021, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design and Media Arts with an emphasis in photography  at Northern Illinois University. Allen has already been included in various exhibitions including Pictures to be read, poetry to be seen: Inspired by the Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, a celebration of the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks, in 2017 at DeKalb County Public Library in Dekalb, IL. Allen is currently working on a long-term series related to his family, and lives and works in Rockford, IL.

Self Portrait With Hood, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Mortgage Statement Due March 1st, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Nose Hair, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Backyard, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Self Portrait on Snow, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Mowing The Lawn, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Naomi Working, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Leaf Blowing, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Fuzz, 2020
Archival Inkjet Print, 12″x16.5″

Cleaning Up, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x16″ 

Changes, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Broken Muffin, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 11″x16.5″ 

Wired, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 11″x16.5″ 

Key Holder, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 36″x24″ 

Pumpkin, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Michael Allen

BFA, Photography

Artist Statement

Surrounded by dwindling social interactions as a result of lockdowns and health considerations with COVID-19, I spent a significant portion of 2020 sitting, feeling lost in the place called home. As the world has moved into 2021, there appears to be hope on the horizon, but the lingering mental and neurological effects from prolonged periods of isolation remain. As an artist, I tend to lean into the scholarship and research of a piece to the detriment of the emotional connection with the work. 2020 pushed back on that tendency, and what I have since discovered about myself is a distinct uneasiness that exists in the familiar.

This series of images is an exploration of my emotional and physical discomfort. As we, globally, continue to push towards healing in the wake of COVID-19, I am striving to break into my inner sanctum of suppressed emotions, attempting to parse what I can only describe as existential chaos. Images range from staged moments of quirkiness or discomfort to non-staged isolations of tense moments. Utilizing humor, whimsy, and an unwillingness to take myself “too seriously”, I am continuing the hunt for the socially prescribed maturity I have been so unwilling to engage with.

Biography

Michael Allen was born in 1987 in Rockford, IL. In 2021, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design and Media Arts with an emphasis in photography  at Northern Illinois University. Allen has already been included in various exhibitions including Pictures to be read, poetry to be seen: Inspired by the Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, a celebration of the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks, in 2017 at DeKalb County Public Library in Dekalb, IL. Allen is currently working on a long-term series related to his family, and lives and works in Rockford, IL.

Self Portrait With Hood, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Mortgage Statement Due March 1st, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Nose Hair, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Backyard, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Self Portrait on Snow, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Mowing The Lawn, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Naomi Working, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Leaf Blowing, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

Fuzz, 2020
Archival Inkjet Print, 12″x16.5″

Cleaning Up, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x16″ 

Changes, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 24″x36″ 

Broken Muffin, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 11″x16.5″ 

Wired, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 11″x16.5″ 

Key Holder, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 36″x24″ 

Pumpkin, 2021
Archival Inkjet Print, 16″x24″ 

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