RVW | A Personal Nature


A dreamlike universe that reflects the mind’s preference for memory over experience.

RVW is a regular series of brief exhibition reviews written by PNCA students and alumni. They are published monthly and feature works and exhibitions by students, faculty, staff, and alumni. If you would like to suggest an exhibition for review, or would like to be an UNTITLED reviewer, please email the editors at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Delaney Allen, “Summer Of Self-reflection, 2012,” (2013). Photo courtesy of Delaney Allen and Nationale.


DELANEY ALLEN | A Personal Nature

By Kathryn Osgood, MA CTCR ’14

A Personal Nature is an appropriate title for Delaney Allen’s (MFA VS ’10) new series of photographs that explore the world perceived and the photograph’s inherent nature to deceive. Utilizing a vibrant palette, Allen’s images explore the workings of memory and dislocation and trace a path from presence to loss articulated through a fragmented narrative. He reveals a concealed world, a dreamlike universe that reflects the mind’s preference for the memory over the experience itself, obfuscating real life and the factitious.

Depicting lustrous objects, camouflaging self-portraits, and otherworldly landscapes, the photographs are vacuous and intentionally vague, masking appearances and obscuring the micro-events of life. While the objects and spaces photographed have actual being, they have been treated in such a manner as to appear imaginary. Lacking context, the photographs are suspect, neither determined or indeterminate, just as experience itself is neither certain or uncertain. Allen plays with the photograph as an illusion of access. Allen combines intentional ambivalence with a distancing from real emotion, an attempt to simultaneously embrace and disavow his feelings. While the images are inconclusive, they represent paradoxical traits of the photograph as both a descriptor of intimate matters and as an alienating, fictional experience. Allen’s photographs are a collection of states of consciousness: allusive, absent, and artificial realities built on a structure of vagueness that reveals the instability of perception. That which is authentic cannot be rendered, and reality is a subjective conception.

Delaney Allen is a nationally and internationally recognized photographer and received his MFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2010. On Saturday, October 26th Allen will celebrate the release of his third book, which contains images from his current series as well as from his recent trip to Minnesota to attend the Camp For Socially Awkward Storytellers run by photographer and publisher Alec Soth. For venue times and information on this event visit Nationale. Additional photographs and exhibition information can be found on Delaney Allen’s website.

A Personal Nature, by Delaney Allen, MFA VS ’10, is on view at Nationale in Portland, OR, through October 27, 2013. Closing reception and book release Saturday, October 26, from 6-8pm.

by Kathryn Osgood, MA CTCR '14
KATHRYN OSGOOD, MA CT+CR '14 is a photographer and freelance photo editor and is currently attending the Critical Theory and Creative Research graduate program at PNCA.

— Posted on 10/11 at 04:54 AM

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