Art and technology are harmonious bedfellows in Rik Allen’s metal and glass sculptures.
A fan of science fiction who has read many works by Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clark and Isaac Asimov and thought about their influence on the scientific world, Allen is inspired by spacecrafts, rockets, scientific apparatus and most recently marine exploration. Allen’s 3D works often appear to be interplanetary vessels ready to investigate the mysteries found in outer space.
“Rik Allen: New Glass and Metal Sculptures,” which opens on October 13 at Blue Rain Gallery, features spaceship-like works as well as pieces that remind Allen, an avid sea kayaker, of the ocean.
“Most of the current work is made primarily of glass and metal, which expresses a paradoxical symbiosis,” explains Allen, a glass sculptor who has taught at Japan’s Toyama Institute of Glass, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Pittsburgh Glass Center and Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. “The relationship between the rigid strength of metal with glass and the apparent fragility creates an alluring tension.”
Allen has been creating glass and metal sculptures, which feature cast aluminum, steel and silver along with blown glass, for more than two decades.
A student of anthropology who was born in Rhode Island, Rik came to the Northwest in 1995 to work at Pilchuck Glass School and become a member of the William Morris sculpture team specializing in engraving, cutting and finishing glass sculpture.
In 2005, Allen established a glass and sculpture studio with his wife, artist Shelley Muzylowski Allen, at their property in Skagit County, Washington. His work has appeared in solo shows around the country and been profiled in national and international magazines.
“While many of my pieces have reference to my curiosity of science, it is also important for me to convey humor and the lighthearted fun that rockets and fiction embody,” he says.