This June, OMNI will welcome Canadian artist Christina Allan for COSMIC ZOO, her first London solo show. As the gallery celebrates its one-year anniversary, the Parsons graduate will present allegorical new works that represent the mothership of all conspiracy theories: aliens, the extra-terrestrial creatures that chime with our deepest and most primal fears.
For her largest body of work to date, Allan’s precisely detailed, airbrushed, colour-leached paintings were first inspired by extra-terrestrial documentary Unacknowledged. The documentary, first released in 2017, drew the artist down into the original rabbit hole.
Since leaving New York and returning to Toronto, Allan has been propelled towards a colour-splashed painting narrative that evoked mystical enquiries that are as timeless as they are universal. The current work, COSMIC ZOO taps into Allan’s personal interest in the mysteries of the universe, cosmology and the unknown. Her concerns are primal, sensationalised, reflecting her own obsessions and most likely, our own.
Drawing inspiration from her own spirituality, theories and hypotheses of the universe, her works reference the Simulation Hypothesis; the Zoo Hypothesis, ufology and popular culture. For decades, film and TV fascination with aliens has reflected ourselves – our fears, anxieties, hopes – long before a Senate report took them seriously. Since her graduation from Parsons, Allan’s vision and work has been powered by the universal questions that throw back more questions than answers.
For COSMIC ZOO, Allan has taken a step-forward into the zeitgeist, where she depicts the otherworldly aspects of God-like figures directing our fate. Allan reasons that this is perhaps best summarised by Barack Obama. Allan states that the former US President’s blunt assessment in May 2021 on the videos of unidentified ariel phenomenon summarised our collective enquiry when he stated, “We don’t know exactly what they are.”
The arc of history has presented exponential examples of shapes floating in the sky. The existence of ancient cave art by our early ancestors, the pre-Inca culture’s recordings of lights in the sky and Native American rock art depicting alien-like figures. The Crucifixion of Christ, 1350, hangs in Visoki Decani Monastery in Kosovo, with two UFOs are pictured in the top two corners while The Miracle of the Snow, painted by Masilino da Panicale (1428-1432) has been written-off by naysayer theories of disc-shapes, as angels and clouds. Italy’s Old Masters recorded flying saucers and unidentified flying objects in their paintings as far back as the 15th century, with unequivocal evidence of flying objects in The Madonna with Saint Giovannino, dated in the late 1400s.
Throughout the ages, popular culture has continued to set the stage. Long before the original influencer, David Bowie teased the public consciousness as a transsexual alien, he idea of UFOs' arriving on Earth has long been linked in public consciousness with “aliens” refracted through the prism of Hollywood. From The Twilight Zone’s spooky science fiction tropes to the nightmarish works of H.R. Giger, the surrealist artist behind Ridley Scott’s Alien, the flavour spectrum abounds. Aliens are fully integrated from the David Bowie’s oeuvre, to the benevolent, see Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters and E.T, Ridley Scott’s avaricious survival classic to Independence Day’s invaders and destroyers.
Christina Allan’s Aliens
Christina Allan concurs; it comes down, she believes, down to curiosity and the drive to seek answers beyond our human reach. “I wanted to present a world where we, as humans, were pawns, controlled by these God-like figures,” she says by way of explanation. “Surveys consistently show that about a third of all Americans think alien spaceships are real — and that as much as 10 percent of the population claim to have seen such spaceships”, she adds. Even if the physical evidence is of intelligent life on other planets is flimsy, there is a theory that they are among us. Past and present Allan wanted to explore this energy in her work: human, alien, other and voyagers of the great beyond – it’s the ultimate experimental trope that will continue to haunt, endure and fascinate each generation.
Established in London in 2022, OMNI represents a diverse roster of multidisciplinary modern and contemporary artists. Cultivating a vibrant community of established and emerging artists, collectors, and enthusiasts, OMNI works directly with talent to provide clients with unique access to artworks over the progression of their careers. In addition to fostering collaborative relationships with artists, the gallery’s innovative exhibition programming underlines its driving principle: to serve as an international artistic platform inclusive of all forms of media. This independent approach is further emboldened by OMNI’s partnerships across industries, engaging its worldwide audience through carefully curated collaborations and experiences.
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