Rene Pierre Allain: Steel Bars

14 April - 14 May 2011
Press release

Ricco/Maresca is pleased to announce René Pierre Allain: Steel Bars, an exhibition of minimalist paintings on steel. Allain’s technique transforms metal surfaces using chemicals, acids, and the flame from a torch, painting with non-traditional materials on an atypical surface. 


This exhibition explores contradictions between light and dark, definition and fluidity – the painstaking exactitude of straight edges contrasted by ethereal fluctuations, and gestural markings. 

In their simultaneous depiction of both tension and fluid movement, these steel bars are reminiscent of earlier works from Allain’s “Paper Modifiers” and “Disrupted Devices” series.  This recent work elevates each characteristic: tension is intensified by the purity and strength of the metal, while ethereal movement takes shape with a spontaneity unseen elsewhere in the body of Allain’s work.


In a 2000 Art in America review of “New Steel Paintings” at Stefan Stux Gallery, Tom McDonough described Allain’s work as “hybrid art works in the tradition of Donald Judd’s ‘specific objects.’”  He wrote, “the artist puts contradictory forces into play: simplicity and complication, the weight of steel and the atmospheric surface quality, the sculptural and the painterly.”  Since then, Allain’s work has evolved, adding layers of shadow, complexity, and movement, following the trajectory of his artistic exhibition history.


Allain’s background is based in photography and sculpture.  His three-dimensional work gradually moved from the floor to the wall, as he grew interested in issues of painting.  Since the mid ‘80s, Allain’s constructed paintings have been exhibited internationally.  His work is included in collections at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Canada Council for the Arts, the London Regional Art and Historical Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the Sol Lewitt Collection, among others.


Installation Views