Chance Allen

“This group of still life paintings, which are on paper mounted on panel, represent a distillation in my work. Each painting contains only a few elements, family photos and everyday objects. The interiors they occupy are minimal and act a stage for which a play is taking place.

This body of work was inspired by digging through old family photos. I recognized their potential to tell a story as a stand-alone object as well as when paired. The familiarity of these photos makes them both accessible and readable. These are of my family, but you may find photos of a similar vein were to dig through your family’s archive. Likewise, the objects paired with the photos may be things you would find in your house, an extension cord, a cd case, or a magic eight ball. Sometimes they are an extension of the photo while other times they aim to contradict or create a duality between the objects.

The photos, objects, and interiors reflect my affection for the mundane. I try to revive and transform these ordinary things into drama. The distillation of objects allows for this to be highlighted. It forces the symbolic nature of the objects to stand off with one another and supersede their literal presence to tell a story. The stories themselves stretch across timelines, the past and future are not excluded as avenues and stages, making some of the works short stories while others are tall tales.

For example, one painting includes a picture of my father, grandfather, and great grandfather behind a tombstone in a graveyard, next to it is a plant. It becomes a statement about life and death. Looking how my father is depicted with his dad, and him with me, lead me to explore how I might be depicted with my son, if I ever had one, and what it would be like to be a father. My son and I are shown next to magic eight ball with no prediction on it, which becomes a statement on the uncertainty of what the future will bring to me as a young adult. Through these stories I aim to reflect yours back at you.”

Chance Allen is a painter who was born in Maryville, Missouri. There he attended Northwest Missouri State University and obtained his BFA in painting. Currently he living and working in Lincoln Nebraska and is an MFA candidate at UNL.

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