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By Art House Reproductions
Allan Cooney was born in Cunnamulla, Queensland, schooled in Brisbane. Born into a pastoral family and having spent many years in the family business now lives in Toowoomba but thinks Eulo in far western Queensland is home. He has worked variously as a jackeroo, barman, roustabout, labourer, ringer, salesman, footballer, station manager, pastoralist, classer, studmaster, activist, pilot, consultant, business executive, trainer, mentor, share trader, CEO. Allan has worked in places like China, Antarctica and South America, created a whole new economic engine for remote aboriginal people, lead an Antarctic expedition, has been a passionate advocate for environmental responsibility and through all that, an artist.
Allan’s mother is an artist, still painting daily, exhibiting and painting commissioned portraits in her 70’s. His father is a published writer, writing a seminal book, plus a second edition, on an extremely obscure subject. His maternal aunt is an accomplished artist though no longer active and has two paternal aunts still active artists. There has always been a creative influence particularly in the early formative years when art books about Picasso, Matisse, Monet et al where a feature of the home. Allan showed early promise and won a couple of minor early art awards, but a boy’s life took over and painting was largely swapped for footy, not understanding girls, dreaming of Holden utes and doing dangerously stupid things on motorbikes.
Art stayed in the background for many years, though never really went away. Sketchbook after sketchbook were filled with artistic ramblings, though a return to painting took three decades. On a very hot Sunday in January 2007 Allan painted again, testing the insistent urge to realise the potential of the sketches and artistic ramblings and see if there was something of substance. The first work was awkward but valid enough to encourage more, the second work, a landscape done with a palette knife with broad, sharply contrasting colours inspired by the vistas of Central Australia - sold. The third work, an abstract windmill, again sold. The fourth piece, “the River Todd Swim Club” was entered in the Central Australian Art Award and was runner up in the People’s Choice section in 2007.
Art flowed, and the artistic flow was invigorating. There was a lot of experimentation with colour and medium, though Allan was doing a lot of painting but didn’t at the time consider most of the work as complete artworks – it sold. Allan took some art classes in 2007 to improve his technical skills but being a busy executive, these were limited, and he also took great delight in not knowing how to do something and finding a way. (see the quote below)
Paintings like “Menindee Dawn” “ Ilparpa” and “the hand of God” and others done in 2008 came out of this flow period from what seemed like an elemental inspiration. Since then Allan has sold over a hundred original canvasses plus numerous works in a multiple of mediums. Though there has not, until now, been any attempt to develop a following, create a name, or be considered as an artist with a profile, there are a few small collections of Allan’s work in the hands of private collectors.
Always experimenting with colour or a medium, Allan’s work has a meaning to it, to be evocative, sometimes an observation of contemporary matters, sometimes to be a calm place in a strange world. Usually the signature work is large and can “fill” a room. Allan doesn’t try to paint with a particular style or to an identifiable genre, though his work has an identifiable character that is unstructured with obvious “hand” and a degree of naiveite. Each work is a new adventure. Allan doesn’t try to or want to be fabulously technically proficient, he likes the art to be more personal as a sharing of himself in the work. And mostly he likes people to see the work to believe “wow, I could do that” and be certain that within everyone is an artist.
“I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them”. Picasso
Centralian Art Award - runner -up Peoples choice 2007
Peta Appleyard Gallery - 2008
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