Selected works by Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen
Tommy Angel #8


Archival digital print

122 x 91cm
Jonathan Allen’s bible-thumping alter-ego, Tommy Angel, is a character of seductive grotesquerie: a beguiling hybrid of Deep South evangelist preacher, 70s cheese-bag magician, and Sforzian political svengali. A contemporary carpetbagger for American Fundamentalism, Angel manifests in life-size photographic portraits, and the live performances which emerge from their illusory surfaces, drawing connotations between religious faith, secular magic, and art's hall of mirrors. Provocative entertainment, sleazy showmanship, and charlatan trickery blur as Allen interrogates the religious and political unconscious of our time. Tommy Angel #8 is one of a series of images depicting various magic routines or ‘miracles’, each culled from the shared iconographies of Vegas and Christendom. Parodic and downright pervy, Allen’s ventriloquist act with a Charlie McCarthy Jesus plucked straight from the cross is posed as a freakish Madonna and Child.

Other Resources
Jonathan Allen (b.1966) is a London-based visual artist, working in a variety of media including lenticular photography, video installation, performance, and object/textworks. He has been exhibiting widely in the UK, Europe, and the USA since 1991.
Official website of Tommy Angel - It's a kind of magic
What separates art from the world of magicianship? Very little, discovers Adrian Searle, after seeing three shows that make him question reality - A list of exhibitions, news, reviews, and work as a writer
Tommy Angel is an ongoing heterogeneous visual art project that centers on the critical parody of a fictitious ‘gospel magician’, that is, a fundamentalist Christian who evanglises using the medium of conjuring and magic. Jonathan Allen;Tommy Angel
A white-tipped magician’s wand in the shape of a crucifix offers questionable salvation. Mind-reading and worship conspire in the cards on a church hymn board. A bible bursts into flames when opened. While the artistry of Tommy Angel’s power is never fully hidden, the omnipresence of magic’s relationship with religion and the relationships of power upon which both rely, is stirringly observed in Jonathan Allen’s photographs and live ‘magic’ performances. Links to a Time Out review
Links to a featured article on Tommy Angel in MAGIC magazine, published in Las Vegas
Jonathan Allen
guest edits issue 26 of NY-based art and culture quarterly CABINET, on the theme of Magic
Additional images and information.