Mr. Mongrain grew up in the small northern Minnesota town of International Falls, traditionally the coldest place in the continental United States. As a ceramic artist he circumvents the traditional use of clay in his work by using the medium to explore content. There is an iconic presence to these meticulously crafted sculptures as the artist subtly alters the symbolism of everyday objects to create distinct and provocative forms. The core of Jeffrey’s subject matter is the human presence found in issues of faith and science. Many of his objects have a relationship with the Victorian buildings of Glasgow, Scotland where Jeffrey lived and taught for seven years.
Allen received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Masters of Fine Arts degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas in the late 1970s. He has been an instructor of art at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri, since 1981. His works have been in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and in Great Britain. His solo exhibitions include the Prasad Gallery in New Jersey; the Goddard Gallery on the campus of State Fair Community College in Missouri; and the Karl Oskar Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri. Allen was the recipient of one of the four top awards at the juried Missouri 50 exhibition at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri, in 1998. In the mid 1990s, Allen co-designed the Fine Arts Studios in the Stauffacher Center at State Fair Community College in Sedalia. Inspired by Peter Voulkos? groundbreaking developments where the platter was successfully established as art, Allen created his own series called the Horn Platter Series. He began this continuing series of platters in 1994 as a tribute to his teacher, Darrell McGinnis, and fellow ceramic artists Peter Voulkos and Jim Leedy. All three of these men had a profound effect on Allen?s thinking as an artist. In enlightening conversations with one another, Allen and Leedy discovered a kindred expressionistic spirit. This dynamic, untitled work by Allen reveals this spirit.