The painter, Allan Brack was born, 1955, in Bradford. He was a student at the School of Art at Bradford College (1976-9) where he studied Fine Art Printmaking. After graduation he worked as a festival and arts events organizer, which included the Bradford Festival, 1987 – 2001.
The death of his partner and demise of the Bradford Festival resulted in a radical change of life and career direction. A turning point was when he met fellow local artist, Mandy Farrar. He wrote:
Out of this dark time in my life came a soul-searching for purpose and meaning. In my darkest hour I met Mandy, and like an Angel sent to save and redeem, she encouraged me to paint and introduced me to the words of Leonard Cohen.
I produced over 30 large paintings on brown paper using pastel and emulsion paint applied wit my credit card, which had been cancelled by the bank. I used the simplified image of the hulk of a ship to convey the journey of a soul, traversing wild seas and Arctic landscapes searching for recovery, discovery and redemption. This work was shown together at the Joseph Rowntree Trust.
Allan and Mandy both exhibited their artwork in 2002 at the South Square Gallery, Thornton, and spent the next 16 years travelling and living, briefly in America, then in Cornwall and North Wales.
During their twelve years in Cornwall they sold original paintings, prints and hand-made cards in the Falmouth area and exhibited their work at the Falmouth Arts Centre. They supplemented their income from artwork with casual temporary employment, giving them as much time as possible painting by the sea, which is a recurring theme in his work. A guiding principle underpinning their joint artwork has been that, ‘art saves lives’.
Allan uses predominantly pastel and emulsion and brown paper for his paintings; in 2018 all of his recent works took their titles from the lyrics of Leonard Cohen.
In the Yorkshire region, Allan’s work has been exhibited at the University of Bradford, and Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax, as well as, as previously stated, at the South Square Gallery and Joseph Rowntree Trust headquarters in York. The Trust also purchased some of Allan’s work for their permanent collection. In November and December 2018, Allan and Mandy presented an exhibition at the South Square Gallery: ‘Came So Far For Beauty’, representing sixteen years of their lives and artwork.
Artist’s website: The Undertow.