Artist Thomas in his ‘cave’

Lindfield Artist, Thomas Allen. Pic Steve Robards
Lindfield Artist, Thomas Allen. Pic Steve Robards

Self-taught artist Thomas Allen is about to embark on a project that he hopes will turn a gallery space into a modern-day ‘cave’ and his work into a ‘cave painting’.

Thomas from Lindfield is about to spend a week at the Fabrica Gallery in Brighton from January 20 to 24 creating a work on a darkened wall space by the light of only a handheld lamp.

Members of the public in and around the gallery will be invited to scribble down their ideas for him to then incorporate into a resulting work of art.

Thomas, 23, said he would be using inspiration from the Surrealist technique of automatic drawing - effectively scribbling - to tap into the collective unconscious of the community.

By soliciting people’s scribbles and interpreting, amalgamating and combining them with his own observations, he hopes to produce images that reflect the community’s’ “collective unconscious”.

Thomas said the project will treat the gallery as a modern-day cave with his work becoming a ‘contemporary cave painting’ generating what he hopes is a spectacle along the way.

“The viewer is not only welcome to enter the ‘cave’ to observe the artist at work but is also invited to partake in the act of making this piece by contributing an automatic drawing of their own,” he said.

Thomas, who has a degree in Sociology, is self-taught and has already won a number of prizes for his work.

His paintings have been exhibited in venues such as the London Science Museum, the Royal College of Art and the Mall Galleries and he recently won both the Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award and the SEAWARD Prize in London.

One of his paintings was recently selected for this year’s Watercolours & Works on Paper Fair at the London Science Museum, South Kensington, which will be opened by Jonathan Dimbleby.

His piece, ‘An Imagined Loss’ – which was the winner of the SEAWARD Prize – can be seen on the first floor of the museum from February 6 to 9

Further information about the Fabrica gallery can be found on its website and entry to Thomas’ ‘cave’ is free.

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