“When Paint Speaks” In Nicholson Gallery


Making a painting is a process that doesn’t finish at the studio or when the artwork is hung. It continues its life when it engages an audience, and the artist creator is not present anymore around the pieces. The artwork’s capability to communicate with the viewer and establish a relationship with the architectural space is a powerful needed dynamic.

The ArtsCenter’s all-ages audiences motivate me to help facilitate a dialogue between paintings and the people. For this reason, I invite two artists from different backgrounds and painting’s craftsmanship approaches to share their works in the same exhibition space.

Both local painters, Allison Coleman, and Steven Silverleaf, have developed artworks that speak from their inner voices and respond to their experiences and interactions with social and political contexts. Being creators living in this North Carolina region, this exhibition is also part of the conversation about today’s American painting and its cultural relevance.

Renzo Ortega

Exhibition Curator

Allison Coleman is a narrative painter and photographer. Many themes found in her work center around Memory and Nostalgia, Mid Century Idealism, and the American South. Originally from the South Carolina Lowcountry, she currently resides in Raleigh NC. She received her BA from College of Charleston and her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently teaches part time and has a studio at Artspace in Raleigh.

Steven Silverleaf was born in 1954 and grew up between New York City; Athens Greece; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He attended University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee during the 1970s where he studied painting and drawing. He was active in the local art, poetry and experimental theatre scene in Milwaukee. He returned to North Carolina in 1980 and to the Raleigh-Durham in 1990. Silverleaf now maintains a studio in Carrboro NC. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and juried shows. He has done numerous workshops and taught drawing for many years in Carrboro NC. His work has been exhibited both here in the US and in Japan and are included in a number of private and corporate collections. He is a founding member of Gaspard and Company (Modern Dance) based in Durham NC, where he has done a number of collaborative set designs and continues to explore collaborations with other artists and mediums.

Allison Coleman – The Beast or The Brave