Brent Allison

Né le 17 juin 1974 à Port Elisabeth (Afrique du Sud).

Il aura fallu attendre le 19e siècle pour que les artistes européens découvrent que les arts d'Afrique, d'Asie ou de quelques autres parties du monde méritent d'autres épithètes que 'premiers', 'primitifs', 'exotiques' ou plus erronément 'sauvages'. Il appartiendra au 20e siècle, grâce surtout à Picasso et à ses 'Demoiselles d'Avignon' d'intégrer certaines de leurs caractéristiques formelles ou mentales qui ne soient plus considérées comme 'étranges' ou 'pittoresques'.

Brent Allison a travaillé au Rwanda et au Zimbabwe et, de retour à Port Elizabeth, il donne des cours de peinture à des communautés défavorisées, tels les jeunes détenus, et il expose dans des endroits alternatifs, hors du circuit commercial, avec 'le souci de rendre l'art accessible à l'homme de la rue'.

Le genre de peinture qui résulte de ces expériences et de ces convictions - ainsi que de ses lectures et de l'influence des grands artistes,- est un art saturé de couleurs vives; bien que toujours légèrement tempérées, comme si l'arc en ciel s'était dissout dans une faible brume, un art de fleurs et d'allusions musicales, et surtout de visages dans lesquels dominent les yeux, ces miroirs de l'âme, et, curieusement, les dents à la fois souriantes et carnassières. Ses stèles de 30 cm. sur 1m30 rappellent les masques et les fétiches et surtout les totems. L'agencement, sur une base géométrique, de ses toiles fait penser plus à la sculpture africaine qui aurait emprunté des structures et des combinaisons chromatiques plus européennes. La présence exclusive de l'être humain isolé et réduit au visage, ou comme élément d'un groupe animé, reflète, quant à elle, un intérêt universel reposant sur une vraie passion personnelle pour l'humanité dans toute sa variété d'aspect et la profonde unité de sa nature.

Born on 17 june 1974 in Port Elisabeth (South Africa).

It is only in the nineteenth century that the European artists became aware of the contribution to art of the people of Asia, Africa and some other sections of the globe. They were finally taken seriously and with greater respect. They were no longer considered as 'naïve' or 'primitive' - as were, for quite a long time, the Flemish painters of the 15th and 16th centuries… The twentieth century, thanks mainly to Picasso and his 'Demoiselles d'Avignon' integrated some of the formal or mental characteristics of those long neglected continents into European art without feeling that they had to be called 'strange' or 'exotic'…

Brent Allison went out to sea, worked in Rwanda and Zimbabwe and, back in South Africa, he started teaching art to underprivileged individuals such as prison inmates, and exhibiting his paintings in alternative places, outside the commercial circuit, in order to 'make art available to the man in the street'.

All of these activities and experiences - as well as the wide range of literature he studied next to the works of the great painters, - are reflected in his paintings. They are all saturated with vivid colours, although these are often slightly attenuated, as if the shades of the rainbow were veiled by a thin haze. Brent Allison enjoys putting flowers on his canvases, and references to jazz music. But his main subjects are human faces with big eyes that seem to watch us while telling us something of their own 'soul' Thus contact is soon established between them and the viewer. He also likes to endow them with big white teeth that can smile or grin and express the irony with which they contemplate the world around them. His vertically elongated paintings - 30 cm. by 1m30 - remind us of ritualistic masks or fetishes as well as of colourful totem poles. The structure of his compositions, which are executed in a rather strict geometric pattern, as well as his colour combinations are indicative of a more European approach. The almost exclusive presence of the human being, either isolated and limited to a face, or as an element of an animated group, reflect the artist's wide universal interest in man as an individual but also his personal passion for humanity as a whole, illustrating both the wide variety of its components and the underlying deep unity of its nature.

Wim Toebosch (A.I.C.A.)

Vernissage-cocktail, le mardi 6 février 2007 de 18h à 21h.