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Terry Allen

 (born 1943)
Terry Allen is active/lives in New Mexico, Kansas.  Terry Allen is known for video, installation-mix media sculpture.

Terry Allen

Biography from Gallery Paule Anglim

Terry Allen is a visual artist and songwriter who was raised in Lubbock, Texas. He graduated from Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and has worked as an artist & musician since 1966.  His legendary story-telling ability is key to his creative productivity.  His modern folklore is skillfully drafted from historical events, personal memories, theater, song and iconic images from both American TV and the American landscape.  Allen's underlying narratives give form to drawn images, sculptures, recordings, radio plays and video art.

He has received numerous awards and honors including a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Art Fellowships, Awards for the Visual Arts (AVA), Washington D.C., Bessie (New York) and Isadora Duncan (San Francisco) Critic Awards for text, music, sets, costumes for PEDAL STEAL (Margaret Jenkins Dance Co.), AICA Award (International Assoc. of Art Critics) Best Show in a Commercial Gallery, Dugout I, LA Louver Gallery, Venice, CA, 2nd Place, curated by Peter Goulds; induction into the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame in 1992, US Artists Fellowship, Oliver Fellow, 2009.

Biography from Stuart Collection
Terry Allen is a multidisciplinary artist in the truest sense of the term. In addition to his indoor installation sculptural work- which is emphatically mixed-media- and his paintings, writings and drawings, Allen is also a songwriter, composer, pianist, and lead vocalist who makes country rock records with his own Panhandle Mystery Band in Lubbock, Texas. Allen is perhaps best known for his cross-disciplinary project Youth in Asia, which was initiated in 1983. The numerous works in this series reflect on the experience of the Vietnam War by exploring American value systems through a variety of means ranging from mass-cultural heroes to fairy tale protagonists like ethos of roadhouses in the American Southwest.

Allen's diverse talents and experiences are highlighted in his project, Trees, for the Stuart Collection. He remarks upon the continual loss of natural environment at UCSD by salvaging three eucalyptus trees from a grove razed to make way for new campus buildings. These trees, preserved and encased in skins of lead, stand like ghosts within a still-thriving eucalyptus grove between the Central Library and the Faculty Club. Although they ostensibly represent displacement or loss, these trees offer a kind of compensation: one emits a series of recorded songs and the other a lively sequence of poems and stories created and arranged specifically for this project.

For the music tree (2MB) William T. Wiley, known for his paintings filled with literary puns and eccentric maps, sings Ghost Riders in the Sky, accompanying himself on a homemade instrument; West Texas singer Joe Ely sings Mona Lisa Squeeze My Guitar, while the Maines Brothers work pedal steel guitars, a Thai band plays, and filmmaker/musician David Byrne sings a song he composed especially for this project.

For the literary tree, Bale Allen delivers his poem about scabs, the poet Philip Levine recites, plus there are Navajo chants, translations of Aztec poems, duck calls, and many other contributions. There are currently about five hours of material on each tree, and Allen and others are at work on future contributions.

The third tree in Allen's installation is near the entrance to the vast geometric library building and remains silent-perhaps another form of the tree of knowledge, perhaps a reminder that trees must be cut down to print books and build buildings, perhaps a dance form, or perhaps noting that one can acquire knowledge both through observation of nature and through research. This tree stands out quietly in the rather stark man-made site at the library entrance.

On the other hand, one could walk through the grove several times without noticing Allen's two unobtrusive Trees. Not only do these trees reinvest a natural site with a literal sense of magic but they implicitly make connections between nature and death and the life of the spirit. It is not surprising that students have dubbed this area the "Enchanted Forest."

Folklore: People have been permitted - even encouraged - to carve initials into the trees. The letters fade and new ones are carved on top, creating the effect of the passage of time and people becoming part of the layers and history of the trees.

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About  Terry Allen

Born:  1943 - Wichita, Kansas
Known for:  video, installation-mix media sculpture