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Thomas Allen’s Pop-up Pop Art

Pop up: Artist Thomas Allen's work "Distraction." (FMPR)
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Silent and neatly folded, packed away deep within the desolation of a rural Michigan farmhouse basement, lie the cut-and-paste dioramas of Thomas Allen. What began as a lovely, yet convoluted, interpretation of his grandfather’s hokey pose-and-smile vintage family photographs, Allen’s three-dimensional pulp art expositions have evolved into a modern mythology of immortalized Americana.

And beginning tonight at the Light and Sie gallery within the industrial quarters of Dallas’ skyline, Allen’s visions of “all that was” will be showcased to masses.

Allen’s photographs are snapshots of spit and scotch tape-constructed storyboards. Little frozen moments in life immortalized by the timeless reverence of the page. A page with new meaning. New life. There is a new school of imagination surrendered and exposed with his imagery. And it’s lovely and surreal. Simple and analog. Moody and demanding.

After a humble and fortunate decade of success, the former 18-year Toys ‘R Us employee and University of Minnesota MFA grad has found a home for his kitschy art epics -- a home secured by his newly published book, Uncovered, and sprawled across the glossy pages of Art on Paper, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Radar and numerous other respected publications. Allen and his post-modern “pop-up” books are demanding attention and retrospection from all eyes that fall upon his hodgepodge of fanciful and suggestive photo montages.

To kick off the exhibition tonight, Allen will be on deck to offer fodder and insight into his work and present a documentary on the process of his art from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show continues through February 16. Light and Sie is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. -- Krissi Reeves

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.