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Work of the Week | 26 September 2022

CAG.1633 Jo Allen, Untitled, 1991, charcoal on paper, 83 x 131.5 cm. © the artist’s estate.


One of three works by the artist in the collection, Untitled (1991) by Jo Allen is featured in our new exhibition, DRAWING ROOM.

Perhaps opening a space in which to consider the female gaze, Allen’s fluent, energetic drawing of a nude model communicates psychological depth beyond surface observation; the model is very much present as if in conversation with the artist.

‘Jo Allen captured the character of her subjects conveying their passion, hope and lust for life,’ Mark Ewart noted in The Irish Times (7 December 2002). ‘Through this she went beyond the academic conventions of figure painting, seeking out her unique and far-from-obvious interpretations. As such, these bodies are imbued with the human elements of emotion and desire and it is through these that the spirit of Jo Allen lives on.’

Originally from Maryland, Jo Allen (1950-2002) was an artist, writer, and teacher. Moving to Cork in 1980, she worked as an artist’s model before studying at Crawford College of Art & Design, and subsequently at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) and University of Southampton.

Allen was a contributing editor to Circa magazine and exhibited at Crawford Art Gallery (1985, 1986, 2002), Tigh Filí (2001), and with the Independent Artists (1986) and Irish Exhibition of Living Art (1987). Her work is also held by the Arts Council of Ireland and Contemporary Arts Collection, Lithuania.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Jo Allen’s death from cancer.

Untitled (1991) by Jo Allen is featured in DRAWING ROOM (Floor 2) until 4 December.

Open daily | Free entry

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week’s chat here:


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