There is a general conflict between the internal and the exterior. One contains, establishes barriers to mitigate what the other, the free flowing and intrusive outside, presents as the flux of the universe abroad. Ricky Allman, an Assistant Professor of painting and drawing at the University of Missouri, engages the phenomena of space within the terms of inner and outer through his paintings. The concise lines of architectural drafts, geometric ideals and flawless angles rendered with mathematical precision consume the foreground. A feeling of entering a freshly constructed mid-century modern home or taking an elevated view of a pristine, futuristic cityscape is prominent throughout Allman’s work. There is such a technicality imbued in Allman’s structures that they seem entirely plausible as the edifices that fill our lives. They even seem to resonate the modern minimalist ethic in simple elegance and toned down, more organic hues. Allman isn’t giving way to the Wrightian notion of natural harmony or continuing the Bauhausist conception of functional grace, though. The effort Allman incorporates through his construction of abstract cities, homes and furniture is to portray their relation to process that aren’t as easily represented with drafting tools or geometric theorems. There are other elements at play in the paintings – raw matter to social excess – appearing as ragged mountain peaks intersecting with marbled walls or confetti explosion spouting from shimmering windows. Allman isn’t appealing to the sanctity of form at all, the structuralism he builds is corrupt and imposing as the erosive and entropic forces that revolve around them. Weather, atmosphere, or purely human essences, swirl in brooding textures or become annexed in organized and metered sectionals. Here the conflict of interior and exterior is exacerbated. But Allman doesn’t want you to find sympathy with one or the other. He not only portrays the anxiety of modern existence and natural process, he emphasizes a beauty occurring between cultivation and cacophony.
-Howard Brad Halverson