BIOGRAPHY: Allen Shugar is a Toronto-born artist working primarily in oil on canvas. He is also curator of Urban Gallery, in Toronto, since its inception in 2012. In his early teens, he attended Saturday-morning oil-painting classes which introduced him to the medium that has remained a lifelong passion and first choice for creating his most personal work. As a young adult, Allen studied graphic design at the Institute of Design IIT, in Chicago, training which significantly influenced his later work both as artist and curator. At various times, he has explored a wide range of creative fields, including illustration and jewellery design. He has also developed a technique of reverse-painting on glass which he has used to produce some unique, custom furniture, interior surfaces, as well as some art pieces. Allen Shugar continues to make Toronto his home. His paintings have been shown in solo and group shows throughout the city and are in private collections across Canada and the U.S.
ARTIST STATEMENT: Long before I knew of the existence of the Symbolist movement that swept through the arts of the late 19th - early 20th century, I was captivated by all things Symbolist. Like those artists, it has never been my intention to create naturalistic representations. Rather, I take a transformative approach that seeks to capture a purely subjective experience, a state of mind, an evanescent mood. I find myself returning to particular subject matter over and over again: The cycles of nature - so dramatic in our northern climate, the human form in all its complexity and expressiveness, the magic and mystery of ancient cultures and mythologies. My aim is to express the extraordinary that lies just beneath the surface of the ordinary.