Closing Sunday: STERLING ALLEN: Damage Control – An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition

Sterling Allen, “Untitled”, 2020, Ceramic, wire, epoxy

Many may know Sterling Allen from his work over the last decade as one of the foiunders of the OKAY MOUNTAIN Art Collective. I am pleased now to introduce you to the work of Sterling Allen created outside of that collaboration in an exclusive ARTSY online exhibition titled, “Damage Control” – which you can view here now:

Sterling Allen holds a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in Sculpture from the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College. He is a co-founder of Okay Mountain, a collective and former gallery based in Austin, Texas. He has exhibited, organized, and completed projects at venues throughout the United States and received several residencies including the Artpace International Artist-In-Residence Program in San Antonio, TX and a residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE.

The works in this show were created for an exhibition in Austin, Texas with Partial Shade and Co-Lab Projects titled “A Pit Fire”. The first weekend consisted of a pit fire, followed by an exhibition of the resulting fired ceramic objects. The contents of the fire dictate the surface color and texture of the objects. The methods for creating different surfaces reframe domestic materiality as a series of chemical actions/reactions, compounds, and sensitivities. Vapors from burning sawdust, copper, newsprint, compost etc. enter the open pores of the objects, resulting in a pattern shaped by context and environment— residual evidence of contact.  

The works were then presented in Sterling Allen’s project “Our New Room” – a series of temporary site-specific installations in unsanctioned spaces that address some of the issues inherent in thinking about objects, site, sculpture, and photography. This body of work is presented as a full-color publication, alongside a feature essay by art historian Sarah Hamill, a sequence of poems by Christopher Rey Pérez, a short essay by Emily Lee, and an interview conducted by fellow artist Ian Pedigo. Book design in collaboration with French & Michigan and M. Wright. (

Allen has exhibited at numerous venues including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and VOLTA NY. He has been twice nominated for an Art Matters Grant and was recently awarded a Rauschenberg Foundation Residency. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. Sterling lives and works in Austin, TX and is currently an Associate Professor at Texas State University.

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