‘Signs of Life’ Art Exhibition to Open

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Aug. 9, 2011 – The 2011-12 season at the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery will open on Monday, Aug. 22, with an exhibition by painter James Allen, Daemen College Professor Emeritus.

The exhibition, Signs of Life: Cut-Out Paintings, will open with a reception from 7 to 8 p.m.

“There are no heroes or villains in my paintings,” explains James, “only ordinary people attempting to get through trying circumstances, large or small, provoking the actions or inactions that shape their identities. I strive to combine the impact of a human presence with a painterly surface rich in anomaly, one that conveys a sense of transience and mutability, even vulnerability.”

The pieces feature cut-out canvas figures—virtually life-size in scale—the shaped forms of which are mounted as ensembles on the wall. The empty wall serves as a timeless, generalized place where the narrative of the piece unfolds.

“In some sense these works operate similarly to sculpture, in that the human figure is allowed to communicate a condition of life by the power of gesture and expression and the formal qualities of the surface, exclusive of elaboration of an environment,” Allen said.

“My work is socially oriented.  It’s about human circumstances and conditions about which I feel quite deeply.  I hope that when visitors stand in front of a piece they will be struck deeply enough that they will pause to contemplate their own reactions to the circumstances involved.”

While Allen says much of the subject matter in the exhibition involves fairly difficult issues such as war and conflict, one piece takes a humorous twist. The artist says that he is always curious about which piece will connect most strongly with any given viewer.

Allen has taught drawing and painting for more than forty years and holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Notre Dame, and an MFA from Wayne State University. He has exhibited his work in venues across the United States and in Canada, winning awards and purchase prizes in regional and national exhibitions.

The reception for Signs of Life is free, refreshments will be served, and the public is invited. James will be present for the reception and will discuss his work and answer questions at about 7:15 p.m. The exhibition continues through Sept. 16.

The Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery is located in the Gladys C. Fort Art Building on the Coker College campus. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session.

Coker College upholds and defends the intellectual and artistic freedom of its faculty and students as they study and create art through which they explore the full spectrum of human experience. The college considers such pursuits central to the spirit of inquiry and thoughtful discussion, which are at the heart of a liberal arts education.


Photo: Mideast Madonna, 97x106.4 inches, acrylic on canvas cut-outs, 2008.


Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach. For more information contact Barb Steadman: 843-397-9959 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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