Art Exhibition about Money to Open at Coker College

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C – Sept. 27, 2012 – The Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery will present “Under the Color of…,” an exhibition of paintings by artist Matthew Litteken, beginning Monday, Oct. 22.

The reception, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m., and light refreshments will be served. Litteken’s show continues through Nov. 16.

“Matthew’s exhibition at Coker is all about money,” said Gallery Director and Assistant Professor of Art Larry Merriman.  “Sometimes his references to the dollar are a subdued, background presence that mimics money’s presence in life. In other pieces, we see an outrageous explosion of color and fancy, symbolizing the fantasy of unlimited possibilities.”

For the paintings and drawings in this show, Litteken extracts and combines design motifs from dollar bills, typically altering or exaggerating scale, color and textures and varying these qualities dramatically from one composition to the next.

In addition to bringing a number works to show, Litteken will paint one of his compositions on a wall just outside the gallery door. Integrating this temporary painting into the structure of the exhibition space typifies the artist’s ironic and witty approach to his subject.

Although the question of value can be broadly applied here, Litteken intends that we reflect on the value of things that money buys and, in that consideration, the value of art looms large.  Thus, a potential buyer of Litteken’s work might contemplate spending hundreds of dollars on a painting which, while beautifully painted, is still a painting based on a single dollar bill. How much money is a painting of money worth? What is its value compared to that of a portrait, a landscape, or a Cezanne painting of card players, which recently sold for $250 million? Litteken’s focus on the value of art prompts viewers to confront personal fantasies about money and how we establish value as individuals and as a society.

A visiting assistant professor of painting at Miami University, Litteken earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Miami University (Ohio) with concentrations in painting and ceramics and his Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting from the University of Cincinnati at the School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

In 2002, he was one of the artists featured in the exhibition “The Art of the State” at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, Pa. Litteken’s paintings have been included in various solo and group shows at such venues as Amy Baber Fine Art in Shreveport, La., the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Purdue University Galleries, Northern Kentucky University, The Artist’s Museum in Washington, D.C., and Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.

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.  The current exhibition, “Palimpsest,” drawings by artist Bob Nugent, continues through Oct. 19.

For more information about the gallery, contact Merriman at 843-383-8156 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit

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.


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, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.






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