R. Allen Jensen, Professor Emeritus
Allen Jensen was a member of the faculty of the Department of Art at Western Washington University from 1965 to his retirement in 1997. Artist Harold Hollingsworth, one of Jensen’s students at Western at the end of the 1980s, remembers him as an inspiring teacher, always counter-current and questioning the commonplace:
R. Allen Jensen’s theater of art making was one of negation: negation of the avant-gardist concept of originality, negation of logic and reason, negation of the desire to assign uniform cultural meanings to diverse phenomena. His was the craft of making art that would become a record of a performance, mixed with very autobiographical references, and very universal ideas.
Jensen, now approaching 81, is exhibiting his work at Smith & Vallee in Edison, WA. The exhibition, "Bob's Boats" is on display Aug. 5- 30, 2016 with an opening reception Aug. 6 from 5 - 8 p.m. The exhibition will feature a series of collages, sculptures, and the full size ‘H.M.S. Jollybob’(His Mortal Ship JollyBob). The various drafts of form evident within these collages, which appear to be studies, illustrate Jensen’s deep exploration and preparation for his own death. His ‘seize the day’ attitude has propelled this immense body of work, which has existential depth and emotional commitment to a practice that few can claim.
R. Allen Jensen in his studio
As a junior art major at the University of Washington in 1957, Jensen was juried into the then prestigious Northwest Annual held at the Seattle Art Museum, along with Alden Mason and Boyer Gonzales. Since then Jensen has been in numerous exhibitions, one man shows at museums including Museum of Northwest Art, the Whatcom Museum; multiple gallery affiliations – Linda Farris, Dick White, Attica, Lucia Douglas, and Smith & Vallee.
Jensen was also active in the State 1% for the Arts Program, winning three commissions. The remaining piece titled ‘Stroke’ is located on the Old Aqua Theatre site at Green Lake. His studio practice remains a seven day a week affair, and has has committed himself to do his best work after the age of eighty.
’H.M.S. Jollybob’, mixed media, 18’ x 12” x 36” by R. Allen Jensen