Theodora Allen – Saturnine

Motto Books


Theodora Allen: Saturnine by Stephanie Cristello / ISBN 9782940672110 / 215-page hardcover art book, 7 x 9.5 inches, published by Motto Books (Switzerland) / text in English 


This first monograph of Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Theodora Allen interweaves the artist’s emblematic use of symbols with the cultural history of Saturn and Melancholy from ancient myth to the present... The works discussed illuminate how elements within Allen’s symbolic lexicon—which include serpents, moons, moths, hourglasses, wildfire, hallucinogenic plants, and windows into other realms—have remained generative. Weaving histories that span centuries, Saturnine delves into the iconographic representations of melancholy since the origin of the four humors. Connecting specific moments within ancient Greek history and mythology, medieval psychology, Fin de Siècle Europe, and the Zeitgeist of 1960s California, Saturnine offers meditations on the kaleidoscope of references that find their footing in Allen’s paintings.

Often referred to as the curse of artists, the melancholic temperament has particular resonance in our contemporary moment. In Saturnine, author and curator Stephanie Cristello considers the implications of the inner world achieved in Allen’s paintings in relation to the cultural allusions and artistic manifestations of Saturn’s influence throughout art and culture: under a magnifying glass, instead of through a telescope.

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