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Artist of the Month
September 2019

Artist of the Month

Rik Allen

Rik Allen left his East Coast roots in the mid-90s for the Northwest to work at Pilchuck Glass School and as a member of the William Morris team. In 2005 he established his own studio where he works primarily with glass and metal, sculpting space craft, rockets, and scientific apparatus, reflecting his interest in science fiction and its humor and influence on the scientific world. Allen is represented by Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Click on each photo to the right for a full picture.

Rik Allen

Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:

My work is as much about outer space as inner space. At first glance, the work may seem to be all about the exploration of the cosmos, but a closer look reveals more humble elements that speak of memory and transparency, revealing inner and outward perspectives.

By incorporating elements that appear worn and experienced, as well as vestiges of an earlier era, I hope to give the work a sense of experimentation, invention, and exploration. My intent is to open up the imaginations of viewers whose own narratives shift as their minds move from exterior perspective of these vessels to inner possibilities.

Art and technology share a symbiotic grace. On the surface, these are interplanetary vessels – literally, transportive and technologically designed to explore the rugged desolation of outer space. Vehicles that have a rough, worn exterior suggest use, imperfection, and history. This theme of “futuristic antiquity” reflects my interest in the literary fictional worlds of Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clark, and Isaac Asimov, and their influence on the scientific world.

While many of my pieces have reference to my curiosity of science, it is also important for me to convey humor and the lighthearted fun that rockets and fiction embody. I am working toward exploring simple forms that lend a sculptural venue and provide a theater of the human condition, while also making work related to natural science and its parallels in our culture and the human condition, all wrapped up in the form of a rocket.  

About Rik Allen

Rik Allen was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and has a B.A. in Anthropology from Franklin Pierce University (NH). In 1995, Rik came to the Northwest to work at Pilchuck Glass School, and also become a member of the William Morris sculpture team, specializing in engraving, cutting, and finishing glass sculpture for 12 years.

In 2005, Rik established a glass and sculpture studio with his wife, artist Shelley Muzylowski Allen, at their property in Skagit County, Washington. In addition to being an artist, Rik has taught internationally at the Toyama Institute of Glass in Toyama, Japan, and the International Glass Festival in Stourbridge, England. He has also taught nationally, including at the Penland School of Craft, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and at Pilchuck.

Rik has had solo exhibitions of his sculptural work and installations throughout the country, including Seeker at the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, Washington; and Innersphere at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, WA.  His current series of work has been in the form of spacecraft, rockets, and scientific apparatus. While many of Rik’s pieces have a reference to his curiosity for science, they also convey humor, simple narratives, and a lightheartedness that is embodied in much of science fiction’s antiquated vision of the future.

His work has been featured and reviewed in American Craft Magazine, American Art Collector, Glass Art Magazine, and Launch Magazine, and is held in national and international museum, corporate, and private collections.

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Acknowledgment of Gallery:
We are grateful to Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, for providing the Artist of the Month.

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Our Mission

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.