In recent years, artists have been exploring art history''s rich legacy and have studied the conventions and contexts of the tradition of art. Nowadays, it is common for artists'' work to go beyond aesthetic concerns and to challenge preconceived notions about the nature of art and its role in society.
Much contemporary practice is based on a broader use of materials, new technologies and responses to different cultural contexts, the artworks in the Allens collection depict that the art of painting and aesthetic concerns are still fundamental to artistic expression.
Dating from the late 1970s, the Allens collection started when the firm moved offices to the then new MLC Centre in Sydney. At first, artwork was introduced as a way of enlivening the office, yet soon became a significant survey of painting over the last four decades. The collection now consists over over a thousand artworks. Not only do they create a more vibrant and characteristic workplace, they also reveal an ongoing commitment to young and emerging artists. A core purpose of this collection is to support young, unknown Australian artists and there are no works from artists who already have a high profile.
The collection also reflects the passion of former partner Hugh Jamieson - the one driving force of the collection. When introducing an exhibition in 1993 he wrote:
'In the closing years of the twentieth century, Australians, if they are to survive, are faced with the need to find innovative solutions to their problems. This is also true in the practice of law. For those of us who work with the collection in front of us every day, the artists encourage us to confront the new, not only through the colour and vitality of their works, but also by the messages they convey. By supporting working artists, the firm is encouraging the development of Australian cultural expression. By providing a platform for this expression, the firm makes a statement about the sort of Australia it believes in.'"
All images belong to Allens. © 2018 Allens, Australia