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Spotlighting the works of furniture maker Charise Buckley

"West Texas Hood Ornament" 18-Karat Gold | 37 x 60 x 3 inches | 2004

Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen

Spotlighting the works of sculptor Bale Creek Allen

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

Synchronicity A Voice in Stone Equus The Archie Bray Foundation Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. 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LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
June | July 2014


Sculptor Bale Creek Allen leaves us at the threshold of our first journey with an endless loop replaying the world from the backseat window. His work is like a flickering home movie played against the screen of the blacktop or like a collection of accidental souvenirs from the wayside. “When I was a kid we were always in a car,” Allen says. “We’d go on I-40, Route 66, and all that driving had a huge impression on me. Roadside debris, Peterbilt engines and just how people got in their cars.”

Twenty years later, after art school, Allen began reinventing the environments of his childhood.

“My work evolved from there,” he says. “At one point, instead of being influenced by what art was supposed to look like, I stripped it down and went to the core of what drew me to art in the first place. The first things I did were objects of beauty.”

Allen found himself attracted to certain objects with organic qualities, which he manipulated and recreated in foreign contexts, like his car parts with neon text series.

“I was tapping into all those years of what I’d seen as a kid,” he says. “Then I took a road trip and a tumble-weed went across the front of my truck. I’d been doing some wood sculpture but I thought how hard it would be to cast a tumbleweed. Spray them with precious metals? That was impossible.” 

Then he wondered if he could dip them into molten metal, but they’d burn up immediately. That’s when the idea of casting came to him.

“I finally found a guy who helped me do one,” Allen says. “We basically deconstructed them.”

Reducing the tumbleweeds into 3-to 5-inch sections, he cast them in little cans, using the lost wax process.

“Then we’d take them out and match them to each branch,” he says. “We were totally replicating the natural tumbleweed. It was OCD. That was the first series I did. Now I cast them with a few more branches and weld them with a bronze weld, so they’re a little more seamless.” What Allen loves about the process is how revealing it is: To the naked eye you see a tumbleweed, but up close it’s clearly metal.

“They vibrate,” he says. “And they’re dense. Now it’s more a mood or a shape and I don’t follow the tumbleweed precisely. I start with intact tumbleweeds. But I have backup tumbleweeds so I ‘frankenstein’ the pieces.”

Some of them are finished with a traditional patina, but some are electroplated with 24-karat gold.

The tire tread came to Allen in the same way the tumble-weeds did — while driving. Each tread has its own identity. “I documented the treads with photographs while taking a three-day trip from Austin to Clovis, New Mexico, and back,” Allen says. “I had 700 photos at 3 a.m. at the side of the road.”

The photos are shown in conjunction with the castings. “So a beautiful black-and-white photo with a sculpture becomes a whole installation,” he says. “And I always install my own shows; it’s critical for me. I’m always there. I think it’s important, how the work relates. It’s like arranging a musical CD. The order dictates the flow.”

The longest tire tread is 8 feet, unfurled, taken from an 18-wheeler. Others are fragments from a blowout, totaling 4 or 5 inches.

Bale Creek Allen is represented by the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Visions West Gallery in Denver, Colorado. 

"Gold Gator Tread" unique Cast Bronze Plated in 24-Karat Gold 8 x 36 x 5 inches | 2005

Bale Creek Allen

"Silver Chunk" unique Cast Bronze Plated in sterling silver 12 x 6 x 3 inches | 2005