Spotlight on... New work by Allen Tortice

Recently, Allen came into the gallery to see us with two new paintings. We think they're instant classics and we want to share them with you

Now, we all know an Allen Tortice when we see one, right? Naïve scenes and perspective, northern painting, an edge of wisdom and an overall air of warmth, regardless of the content of the painting. Well, these two new paintings are even more than that.

Let's start with this one.

It's a classic Tortice street scene from the moment we lay eyes on it. We can see a collection of endearing, inoffensive characters getting up to a variety of day-to-day things. Chatting, walking, playing; the list continues. There are period advertisements on the buildings - Allen seems to have favoured Guinness as a brand in the past months - and we notice many of the hallmarks of the industrial North of England, as it was 50 years ago or more, as we scan the painting.

What makes this painting so different to the others, then, is the sheer ambition and gravity of its perspective. Although we often find ourselves confronted by distinctly naïve perspective in Allen's work, it is fair to say that the perspective in this one is possibly the most accurate he has ever accomplished. It is a central shift, too, which means that as our eye is drawn into the shift in perspective, so too is it drawn to the centre of the image.

You might argue this has an adverse effect on our perception of the characters in the foreground, although I think that because they are so in focus and so busy that overall we have a very evenly distributed image. Other 'easter eggs' include one of Allen's famous factories, the redbrick corner terraces, the dirty streets, window scenery and of course, Allen's humourous trademark, 'the pissing dog', as it is affectionately known.

This brand new original oil-on-canvas-on-board painting is an absolute steal at this limited time price of just £425. Please get in touch if you'd like to make a purchase, and/or discuss the many, many, (many) framing options.


The next piece I'd like to take a look at is another instant classic, perhaps even more so than the one discussed above. Allow me to explain...

In many ways, we can argue this painting is even more ambitious than the one above. In the last few years, particularly from late 2014, we have seen a new side of Allen Tortice. Although the aesthetic and the tone of the work remains the same, we have seen detail like we've never seen it before, as well as new characters, animals, vehicles and places. Allen has even returned to some of his earliest painted scenes for inspiration, resurrecting places not painted by him for 25 years. But what we have here is something altogether very new and different indeed.

Consider, if you will, the boy in the foreground with his back to us. Is he looking curiously at the dog, who sniffs at the grubby road, or instead at the horse and cart? We look further to the left to see a man about to cross behind the cart with his briefcase, looking directly at us, but we do not feel it to be confrontational. Suddenly there is another great shift in perspective, as the corner terrace curves back and reveals a far away terraced row, with smoking chimneys and a factory just behind. The depth of field is huge and what's more, we can see that there is more going on over there. We perhaps will want to know what it is...

Returning to the centre of the image, we notice a man with a stick; a classic 'Tortician' figure, if you will. There are two ladies chatting, perhaps he is in their company? We notice a boy and then it becomes clear that the boy on the left is probably not looking at the dog or horse, but indeed at his peer on the corner of the street. Another friendship is established. Further down this road, which to me exhibits the most severe shift in perspective Allen has created to date.

And that is saying something.

We find ourselves drawn down a disappearing line of interesting citizens, ending up in the heart of this industrial quarter of town. We look back to the centre of the painting and realise that we have suddenly gone a few thousand feet back up the road. Incredible.

With hallmarks such as the man with his cane, 'the pissing dog', window scenery and rare additions such as the horse and cart (wonderfully painted), this painting is topped off by the elaborate Guinness advertisement, featuring a 'strong man'. It is as if he, the printed face of the workforce, watches over the events of the everyday and of the real workers, with some sort of sentinel stature, yet he would fit right in if he could emerge from the graphics.

We just want to dive into this scene and we hope for the brilliant price of just £475, you will want to as well! This piece really is one of the finest works Tortice has ever produced, not only for its elegance but for the way that elegance preserves his traditional style and artistic presence. If you want to discuss a purchase, and/or your barrage of framing options, please don't hesitate to get in touch; we expect this painting to sell very quickly.

Thanks for reading.

I hope you've enjoyed this in-depth look at two of Tortice's most fascinating works yet. For more information, please do get in touch and keep checking our news page for more 'spotlights on...'.