Roberta Allen’s first one-person exhibition of paintings took place in 1967 at Galerie 845 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She settled in Amsterdam to paint for two years. In 1965, she’d gone to Europe by herself and travelled through many countries. Berlin and Athens were her home briefly. So was Mexico after returning from Europe to New York, where she still lives. For almost five decades, she has traveled--usually alone--to about thirty countries, mainly in the third world, including the Peruvian Amazon, Mali, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, and Nicaragua.
She has had 27 one-person exhibitions, including two at PS 1; four at John Weber Gallery, NY, (alongside Sol Lewitt, Robert Ryman, Carl Andre, etc.); and one-person shows at the Kunstforum, Lenbachhaus, the State Museum in Munich; and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth, Western Australia. She has participated in group exhibitions worldwide. Her visual and conceptual art include: drawings, collages, installations, photo-based works, digital prints, artist’s books, and now photography. Public collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Bibliotheque du France.
Throughout her years as a short story writer, novelist, memoirist, and teacher, she continued to create photographs, drawings and digital prints though she preferred to remain well outside the art world. During that time while teaching creative writing, mainly at The New School and in private classes, she published eight books, including the illustrated story collections The Traveling Woman and Certain People, both praised by The New York Times Book Review; an illustrated novella-in-stories, The Daughter; a novel, The Dreaming Girl; a travel memoir, Amazon Dream; and three writing guides with her photographs and drawings. Her latest public installation (2011) took place in a group exhibition at the abandoned Convent of Saint Cecilia in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. In 2012, she created four series of photographs; “Secret Worlds I-IV,” and, in 2011, “Intimations.”