Aglaé Bassens
Do Not Disturb
04.05.24 - 05.11.24

Claudia Keep
In Bed
04.05.24 - 05.11.24

Emma cc Cook
Manners, Hayseed
03.02.24 - 04.01.24

Moll Brau
The Living Room
03.02.24 - 04.01.24


Dallas and Los Angeles

Sean Cairns & Joel Murray
Everyday Magic, Everyday Music
07.08.23 - 08.05.23

The Range
06.10.23 - 08.05.23

Emily Furr
Extra Strength
04.19.22 - 06.03.23

Fernanda Mello
Boundless Little Darkness
04.19.22 - 06.03.23

J.A. Feng
Creature Cravings
03.11.23 - 04.15.23

Gray Wielebinski
Love and Theft
02.11.23 - 04.01.23
12.26 West

Kevin Ford
02.03.23 - 03.04.23

Chris Johanson & Johanna Jackson
The Chimes We Find
12.10.22 - 01.28.23

Aglaé Bassens
A Light Touch
11.06.22 - 12.23.22
12.26 West, Los Angeles

Keer Tanchak
A stranger every time
10.08.22 - 11.12.22

Emily Furr
Mechanical Poems
Works on Paper
12.26 West
09.25.22 - 10.29.22

Julia Maiuri
08.27.22 - 10.01.22

Brandon Thompson
When You See Me, Make A Wish
07.09.22 – 08.26.22
12.26 West, Los Angeles

Sarah Ann Weber
The first green light of the sun
06.04.22 - 07.30.22

Ida Badal and Nik Gelormino
3 and 4
05.15.22 - 06.30.22
12.26 West, Los Angeles

Claire Colette
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04.20.22 - 05.25.22

Liz Nielsen
Electric Romance
04.20.22 – 05.25.22

Hasani Sahlehe
Sky, You, Water, Ground
03.12.22 - 04.09.22

Austin Eddy
Above The House Where Paul Verlaine Died
03.12.22 - 04.09.22

I Drive Thee
01.29.22 - 03.05.22

Marjorie Norman Schwarz
Six Patiences
12.11.21 – 01.22.22

Aglaé Bassens
Empty Threats
11.10.21 - 12.08.21

Amy Bessone
Amy’s World
09.11.21 - 10.30.21

Possibility Made Real:
Drawing & Clay
Curated by Julia Haft-Candell
05.22.21 - 07.30.21

Sophie Varin
Halfway There
06.16.21 - 07.24.21
12.26 West, Los Angeles

Emily Furr
Dynamite Bridge
05.15.21 - 06.13.21
12.26 West, Los Angeles

Keer Tanchak & Janet Werner
04.17.21 - 05.15.21

Karla García
I Carry This Land With Me
02.27.21 - 04.09.21

Eve Fowler
Just Seated Beside The Meaning
01.09.21 - 02.20.21

Kevin Ford
Same Same
01.09.21 - 02.20.21

Rachel Jones
A Sovereign Mouth
10.30.20 - 12.19.20

Theodora Allen
Light Pollution
09.12.20 - 10.24.20

David Gilbert
The Great Outdoors
06.06.20 - 08.22.20

Gray Wielebinski
Two Snakes
06.06.20 - 08.22.20

Emily Furr
02.22.20 - 03.28.20

J.A. Feng
Low-Slung & Far-Flung
02.22.20 - 03.28.20

Molly Larkey
01.11.20 - 02.15.20

Joel Murray
People and Ocean and Sky
01.11.20 - 02.15.20

Marjorie Norman Schwarz
Slow Change
01.11.20 - 02.15.20

Ry Rocklen
Food Group: On the Table
11.23.19 - 01.04.20

Cary Leibowitz
The Queen Esther Rodeo
11.23.19 - 01.04.20

Johanna Jackson
09.28.19 - 11.16.19

Alex Olson and Nancy Shaver
09.28.19 - 11.16.19

Theodora Allen: The Bowstring’s Tension


︎Exhibition checklist

Shouldn't this most ancient of sufferings finally grow
more fruitful for us? Isn't it time that we lovingly
freed ourselves from the beloved and, quivering, endured:
as the arrow endures the bowstring's tension, so that
gathered in the snap of release it can be more than
itself. For there is no place where we can remain.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, translated by Stephen Mitchell

12.26 is pleased to present The Bowstring’s Tension, the gallery's second solo exhibition with Los Angeles-based artist Theodora Allen.

The metronome’s early 19th-century etymology combines Greek metron and nomos; ‘measure’ and ‘law’, respectively. Employing the same simple mechanism as Galileo’s concept for a pendulum clock, the metronome keeps exact time through the back and forth motion of a suspended weight. With each oscillation the device produces a regular click; useful for students of music learning to keep tempo. Like the heart organ, marked time reveals nothing indexical about temporality, just that it is continuous until it stops.

In The Bowstring’s Tension, Allen presents four intimately scaled works from her ongoing series of shield paintings, in conversation with a single painting from her series The Snake, whose namesake subject has been a recurrent motif in her work for the past decade. Across the two strains of output on view, realist and graphic imagery harmonize to form a chimeric landscape—a confluence of the natural world and a metaphysical one. At once sensuous and ascetic, with lapidary-like precision, the paintings continue an exploration of cycles and regeneration. Through a visual language rooted in emblematic, esoteric, and personal sources, Allen creates ciphers for narratives both eternal and intimate.

In recent iterations from the Shield series, a heart, club, diamond, and spade play out in various formations across heraldic crests. The four playing card suits, historically interpreted as analogues of the human condition, appear soft and diaphanous, brought up to the surface through a subtractive method of painting. Precise lines of lifted pigment simulate taut cords, anchored to the composition’s framework like strings of a musical instrument or an archer's bow. Their drop-shadow's introduce a visual tension with the suggestion of illusory depth in an otherwise graphic space. Whether charting a path of measured movement, as in Shield (Metronome), 2023, and Shield (Pendulum), 2023, or echoing a playing card's mirrored composition, as in Shield (Two of Hearts), 2023, the information diagrammed within each schema hold an arcane resonance; an enigmatic story of time and devotion. 

The Snake, No.11 (Mythic Love), 2023, offers a window outside of the realm proposed within the shields; An enchanting earth-bound encounter between an arrow and a snake. Similar to a photographic image made by the sun, the subjects retain the luminosity of the gessoed ground—negative forms made positive through outline and shadow. As in the Sottobosco, or 'forest floor’ paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, the scene is glimpsed from a distinctly low vantage point, which places the viewer at eye level with the elusive serpent.

The optical play between pictorial illusion and surface materiality maintain a through-line in Allen’s body of work, where the painted image simultaneously forms and dissolves. Achieved with a process that involves constant negotiation between absence and presence, Allen applies and removes thin layers of oil paint until the fabric itself becomes weathered. The light from within each painting emanates through sheer veils of color, revealed in areas where pigment has been all or partially removed. In this action, the interior light source is alternately dimmed or revealed. With each pass, the evocative imagery is pushed further toward the ethereal; a mediation between defining and dissolving the picture plane.

Theodora Allen (b. 1985, Los Angeles, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Allen holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Huset for Kunst and Design, Holstebro, Denmark (2023) the Driehaus Museum, Chicago, IL (2022) and Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark (2021). A monograph of her work was published by Motto Books, Geneva, in 2021. Allen was chosen for the Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency (2021), and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency (2011). She is represented by 12.26 (Dallas), Blum & Poe (Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo), and Kasmin (New York).

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Dallas, TX 75207
Los Angeles
3305 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
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