‘Blue Moon’ art exhibition

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2000

features Troy State professor


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Pam Allen felt very vulnerable standing before a room full of art students, exposing herself on canvas.

However, there was no reason for the Troy State University art professor to be nervous. Her "Blue Moon" exhibition struck a chord with her audience and each young woman seemed to find Allen had captured something of their own character in her work. Each was drawn to one of the portraits of a "maiden" either knowingly or unknowingly.

"This one is me," one student said. "I’ve had this feeling so many times. Now, that feeling is captured on canvas. I’d love to have it hanging in my room."

Another expressed an interest in a portrait of a young maiden whose hair floated on the surface of a body of water with only her eyes and nose visibile.

"There’s something about this one … " another student said. "I don’t know what it is but it draws me to it over and over."

Allen said her paintings appear to be portraits but they are not. They are glimpses of rare qualities in women – not exact portraits of them. Perhaps, that is the reason the women who attended the exhibition at Malone Gallery Monday found the paintings to be so fascinating. The portraits were of each of them, but of none of them.

When Allen began painting portaits as an art student herself, she produced a body of work that included six protraits of friends.

"My friends didn’t like what they saw," Allen said, with a smile. "I began to look at them to see if I had captured their personalities or mine."

At that point, Allen began to look at herself more carefully and many of her paintings reflect who she is as a person and as an artist.

She was greatly influenced by the works of artists who went into the soul of a person.

"I realized that an artist must ‘to thine ownself be true,’ and I realized I had to be true to myself before someone else could appreciate my work."

Allen said she began to paint things that she knew and understood and things that meant something special to her. She started with her grandmother.

"She was a seamstress and worked with fabrics," Allen said. "I began to work with fabrics and folds in my paintings."

Allen said a person is the sum total of his or her past and her art is a refletion of her sum total.

The backgrounds in her "Blue Moon" series are fictional but the subjects are character studies of "maidens" with rare qualities.

"I search for qualities that made them strong, passionate, unique maidens," she said. "These maidens appear once in a blue moon and I tried to capture a rare gilmpse of them in my paintings."

Allen’s exhibition will continue through April 13 at Malone Gallery on the campus of Troy State University.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. until noon and 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is no admission charge.