At Kasmin, Sculptor Alma Allen Brings the Ancient Realm Into Manhattan

Alma Allen in his sculpting studio. All photography by Diego Flores, and courtesy of the artist and Kasmin.

Alma Allen thinks in stone.

The American-born, Mexico-based sculptor, who also works in wood and bronze, has long been celebrated for his distinct sculptural works that appear in the permanent collections of LACMA and the Palm Springs Art Museum. Psychologically charged, emitting a life force all of their own, they evoke the presence of archaic monuments. 

This week, audiences have one last chance to catch Allen’s most recent show, "Alma Allen," at Kasmin's West 27th Street location in New York. While not exactly ancient, the pieces do harken back to a former time: They revolve around material directions explored in Allen’s site-specific solo exhibition "Nunca Solo" at Museo Anahuacalli in Mexico City last year. The body of work on view builds upon Allen’s past endeavors and continue his exploration of the relationship between matter and consciousness. 


Featuring Yucatan stone, onyx, and several variations of marble that Allen sourced from the area surrounding his studio in Tepotzlán, Mexico, the pieces induce wanderlust in Chelsea. Specific works on view include freestanding bronze structures, large-scale sculptures that resemble totems, fossilized stones whose surfaces are embedded with mollusk shells, and urchin-like shapes with tentacular protrusions. Throughout, shades of oxidized rust and desaturated ochre call to mind human musculature.


Interestingly, Allen chooses a simple moniker for his pieces: Not Yet Titled. Like all great works of art, they exist in that place beyond language. For the first time, these sculptures are shown alongside a series of Allen’s large-scale oil paintings, created by the artist over the last few decades but never exhibited—until now. The Kasmin show explores the multi-faceted artist’s ease across mediums, whether that be sculpture, painting, or some third, indefinable thing.