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Field Library Gallery to Feature Retrospective of Noted Peekskill Artist Eugene Allen

The artist and PHS graduate is being honored as a “major undiscovered talent” in a show opening July 7.

Alicia Morgan, the curator of the in Peekskill said that she did not hesitate to plan an art show as soon as she saw images of Eugene Allen’s paintings.

“His work is strong and bold; he speaks to the human condition with his strong visual style,” Morgan said.

“When I saw the portfolio of his work, I immediately wanted to do a show at the gallery—he is a huge local talent and is now the first African-American artist to have a major retrospective in Peekskill.”

The artist who died last year was a 1957 graduate of when he was awarded a two-year scholarship to the Art Career School in New York City.

From 1961 to 1963, Allen served in the United States Army as an illustrator and after completing active service, he was employed as an illustrator at the United States Military Academy at West Point for five years. He later moved to Tucson, Arizona where he taught art and photography at Pima Junior College.

His daughter, Peekskill resident Daphne Redd, said that her father was influenced by the Southwest in profound ways.

“My father lived in Mexico for a time to research and study of the Seri Indians in Sonora, several portraits of which can be seen in this retrospective.”  She added that in 1978, he created a mural entitled, “Roots of Black History,” depicting the chronology of notable Black Americans—the 8x12 foot mural contains over 400 subjects who have made significant contributions throughout American history and can be viewed at the Northwest Neighborhood Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Allen continued his studies at the prestigious Art Students League under the noted painter William Earle, and later earned a B.A. in graphic and commercial art at New York University.

Redd said that her father was an extremely talented artist who did photography, painting and music as early as she can remember. “He always challenged me to look at a painting and decide for myself what I saw and what it meant,” she said.

Eugene “Gene” Allen’s portraiture style is described as bold, personal and striking; one where the artist had instinctually captured his subjects at their most defiant and vulnerable.

His paintings in oil and acrylic offer a series of portraits that Morgan described as a “literal and unblinking series which strike the viewer and hold them spellbound and fascinated—where every picture leads one a journey to learn more about each subject.”

After her father succumbed to diabetes related complications last year, Daphne Redd said she felt more compelled than ever to share her father’s body of work with the world—something she had always promised him she would do.

“My father would be honored to know that this show is happening; he came back to his hometown of Peekskill after travels around the world," Redd said.

"He had always loved the community and the scenic city—and now he can get the recognition he deserves.”

Eugene Allen (1937-2011): A Memorial Retrospective runs July 7—August 4. Opening Reception: Saturday, July 7, 12-2 p.m.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Eugene Allen’s paintings will be donated to diabetes research.

leesther brown July 05, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Beautiful...
Alicia Morgan July 06, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Thank you Ms. Brown for you comment! And everyone: In honor of her father, Eugene Allen, Daphne Redd will be donating 5% of the proceeds of the sale of each painting to the Diabetic Amputation Foundation (DAP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to decrease diabetes related amputations in high risk populations around the world. DAP was founded in 2001 by the physician Dr. Bill Releford. From his website: Dr. Releford’s community outreach and health care advocacy efforts are facilitated through the Diabetic Amputation Prevention Foundation (DAP), a non profit organization founded in 2001, whose mission is to increase public awareness of diabetes through culturally specific education and community based programs. The education of at risk populations to better understand the disease, its complications as well as the standard of care as it relates to diabetes is the primary focus. Our primary goal is to decrease the amputation rate among high risk populations both domestically and internationally through prevention / education, early detection and access to state-of-art technologies and applying a multi-disciplinary approach to managing the disease.
Alicia Morgan July 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM
(Continued from above:) Domestically, Dr. Releford and the DAP Foundation have been recognized for the success of innovative and effective community outreach programs such as: • THE BLACK BARBERSHOP HEALTH OUTREACH PROGRAM: Over 300 black owned Barbershops throughout the country have participated in screening nearly 8000 African American men for diabetes and hypertension. As results of this effort, the month of May has been designated as “Black Barbershop Month” for the entire state of California. The program has screened men in the states of New York, Illinois, Louisiana, Georgia, Missouri and throughout the state of California. The BBHOP will screen nearly 20,000 men by the end of this year. Ultimately, 500,000 men will be screened by the end of 2012. Internationally, The DAP Foundation has projects in Fiji, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ghana, Uganda, Gabon, Benin, as well as Cuba. Globally, our vision is to address the health care disparities in the Diaspora from a cardiovascular disease perspective. For more information, visit http://www.drreleford.com/doc/DAPfoundation.html We hope to see you at the opening, and at the weeks following at this very special and groundbreaking show.
Rebecca Runge July 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
My father, Gene Allen was an extremely talented man. His art was only one facet of the many layers of beauty he saw in his lifetime. He taught me to see things through an artists eye with his photographs and paintings and to hear the soul in music he loved. My life will be less colorful without this great man in it, but he will leave behind the legacy of his Beautiful Soul set free on canvas.

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