In his new exhibition Beautiful Evidence, artist Thomas Allen conjures a magical realm out of mid-20th Century book illustrations. After countless hours of scavenging, cutting, and staging, Allen crafts new worlds by juxtaposing characters in unexpected, clever new ways. Allen places cut-out characters popular when he was a child onto scientific illustrations from the collection of vintage children’s books, encyclopedias, primary readers he started amassing in grad school. The whimsical interactions created by Allen's adept hand prove that science class can be beautifully fun.
Below, Allen shared notes with us about each of his latest creations. All photographs by Thomas Allen/Courtesy Foley Gallery.
Bearings, 2012: "If you know how to find the North Star (the tip of the tail of Ursa Minor), you will never be lost."
Cloudburst, 2012: "This is my daughter— a dreamer with an imagination so big that her feet rarely touch the ground."
Discovery, 2012: "The exact moment when everything becomes perfectly clear."
Eclipsed, 2012: "A temporary absence of light."
Observatory, 2012: "Secretly satisfying one's curiosity."
Opposition, 2012: "The process of placing each planet into its proper orbit."
Starstruck, 2012: "A symbol of milk tipping his hat to another."
Beautiful Evidence is on view through October 14 at Foley Gallery's new location at 97 Allen Street, in New York City.
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