Biography: “The actual appearance of reality is essentially different from our fast pre-conditioned glance of recognition which serves… our everyday needs,” says painter Lionel Allingham.
Born in England, Allingham relocated to Canada and studied art at Sir George Williams University (1969 – 1975, now Concordia University), where he received his BFA with Distinction. During this time he created five 5.5 m tall sculptures for the Terre des Hommes (Man and His World) facility in Montreal (1972), and received the Captain Melville Greenshields Memorial Scholarship from Bishop’s University (1975). Following the completion of his post-graduate studies at Concordia, he received his diploma in Art Education (1976), and achieved honours in Studio Study.
After teaching art in Montreal as funded by a federal grant (1973), Allingham taught art at in Ile-a-la-Cross, Saskatchewan (1976 – 1978). He later worked at the Grande Prairie Regional College (1978 – 1980) to develop an art program with courses in printmaking, studio painting, sculpture, and crafts.
Religious exploration led Allingham to Christianity, which he says “made the most sense” to him. He explains that the conversion was his own “personal conclusion” born from his ongoing search “to find a closer relationship with God” and understand the meaning of “being made in the image of— .” He argues that religion and art seek the same goal: “to be the depth of what a person is.”
Describing his philosophical and artistic development, Allingham notes his abstract nature paintings of the 1970s were part of his years-long exploration of the link between the world and his perceptions of it. Colour, he says, arises from “the subconscious and from nature itself,” which helps him “grasp the greatness of the silent process of time upon living and non-living forms.”
Allingham has participated in group exhibitions, including at Grande Prairie’s Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie Regional College, and in British Columbia and Quebec. The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie houses one of Allingham’s pieces in its permanent collection.