Les Allen and Bruce Thorn invite audiences to explore the endless possibilities and interpretations of their work in “Earthly Delights”. Allen’s photographs and Thorn’s paintings are a nod to Hieronymus Bosch, surrealism, science, nature and magic. Allen’s photography is a controlled manipulation of materials, a sculpting of light. Experience the ephemeral nature of his carefully crafted, invented realities that take on a life of their own. Thorn’s paintings are abstract and improvisational, made without preparatory drawings. Each work is a captivating wellspring of mystery. These are paintings that avoid over-simplified narratives.
Les Allen has been a fine art film photographer for over 5 decade and continues to work in black and white traditional film photography. Working in the medium of large format Les creates surreal worlds through his magical still life compositions and light manipulation. Each silver gelatin print is brilliantly produced exclusively by the artist in his home studio and wet darkroom. Les received both his BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 70s and was a full-time art educator for 35 years.
Bruce Thorn explains, “I want my paintings to have a heartbeat, to breathe with vitality and mystery, to ask all questions big and small and to suggest answers hidden within like a heuristic prophet. I want to make paintings that could not be made with any other medium. Every color, shape, sound, movement and sensation can serve to reference something of the real world.”
Bruce Thorn was born on Chicago’s Southside in 1952. He grew up during an era when kids hung out together in real time and the personal was of significance. As a child surrounded by the civil rights movement, violent riots, anti-war protests, widespread police brutality and the 1960’s cultural revolution, Thorn decided to become a painter while a youth. From the beginning, his artwork reflected the intensity, complexity and introspection of the times. Thorn earned a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1975 and an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1987. He has maintained a vibrant art practice throughout his life. His works have been exhibited in the United States, Czechoslovakia, Canada and the Netherlands.