by Sally CaswellExhibition: 13th October-11thNovember 2007The dark grey, cavernous walls of the O3 Gallery provide the perfect foil for the vivid colours of Marc Allen’s photography. The eighteen 20 x30″ images are unfocused, abstract and infinitely mysterious. Certain associations are triggered when you look at some of the pieces, but for the most part the enjoyment of the exhibition comes from the aesthetics. The colours and the general compositions satisfy something within oneself and make the visual experience very worthwhile. Untitled C particularly stands out for me. It’s a haunting piece with drifting, smoky effects. It appears to be a scene looking across a river at a building on the opposite side. However, Allen creates such abstract effects that one can never quite be sure. Instead of being irritating, as I thought such uncertainty would be, the result was a slight unsettled sensation which kept me guessing and left me intrigued by his technique. The titles offer little in the way of explanation, ‘O4’, ‘Rookery 25’, but on talking to Allen it soon becomes apparent that the titles are more a part of a system of identification, than means of providing any clues to the picture.Having spoken to Allen, his photographs became a lot clearer, or, at least, the motivation behind them did rather than the photographs themselves. He describes his work as “drawing with light”. Indeed, photography literally means this, ‘photo’ originating from photons regarding light, and ‘graph’ being Greek for drawing. It’s a description which suits his work very well. Light is his medium as much as paint for a painter is their medium. Despite the abstract nature of the works he doesn’t use digital manipulation to achieve the effects, relying instead on time exposures. In this way he is using pure light. He invokes the style of Picasso and Braque in his work, explaining that whilst the painters painted things from different angles, they all looked at various perspectives in one piece. Allen does this through the time exposures on his camera; as the light moves across the object, the perspective changes and he captures this in his art.