Three Coker Artists Honored at Pee Dee Regional Art Show

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Sept. 16, 2011 – Three artists from Coker College – Professor of Art Jim Boden, Professor of Art Jean Grosser and senior art major John Shearer – won awards at the Pee Dee Regional Art Competition 2011.

The awards were presented at the exhibition opening in the Florence Museum on Sept. 15.

Boden won first place for Interrogate #38; Grosser won second place for Fragments of Hate #6 and Shearer received an honorable mention for Force and Figure #7.

Boden presented four pieces from his 75-piece series of oil paintings titled Interrogate. Selections from the series were most recently exhibited in the Stein Gallery at Coker College in conjunction with the community’s 9-11 commemoration and before that at the Lake George Arts Project’s Courthouse Gallery in Lake George, N.Y.

He describes the works as his personal response to the fact that the U.S. allowed and condoned the use of torture in its interrogations of military prisoners.

“Jim Boden’s oil paintings are stunning in execution and content, showing technical competence, vision, expressive yet understated strength, intrigue and beauty,” wrote competition judge Wim Roefs, if ART Gallery owner and board chairman of the 701 Center for the Contemporary Arts in Columbia, S.C.

“On one level, Jim Boden’s interrogation paintings reinforce what most of us know about torture from the written accounts, photographs and videos,” said Larry Merriman, who directs the Cecelia Coker Bell College Art Gallery.

“On another level, Boden’s disturbing images are more visceral and personal than documentary evidence. In other words, Boden’s paintings close a disconnect that exists between our awareness of torture and the actual experience of torture. His paintings convert the viewer’s intellectual abstraction of torture into a terrifying reality: what it might feel like to be next in line,” Merriman added.

Boden received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from the University of Minnesota. His work was included in recent group exhibitions at the Cecelia Coker Bell College Art Gallery; 440 Gallery, Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Florence Art Museum, Florence, S.C.; and solo exhibitions at the Rabold Gallery, Aiken, S.C.; and Black Creek Arts Council Gallery, Hartsville, S.C.  In 2001, he was awarded First Place in the Grand Prix International Drawing Biennale in Melbourne, Australia.  Among other numerous awards in the U.S., Boden has won First Place at StateWide, Florence Art Museum, Florence, S.C., and the First Place and Purchase Awards at Drawing From Perceptions - Biennial Drawing Exhibition, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

Grosser exhibited two mixed media sculptures titled Health Kit for the Uninsured: Milagros and  Stroke: Digging Out and two drawings, Fragments of Hate #6 and Fragments of Hate #1.

“Jean Grosser’s Fragments of Hate Series is of the highest order, both conceptually and in execution, and #6 shows all the qualities that make these intelligent, engaged works so successful,” wrote Woefs.

Convinced that the most effective way to transform hatred is to challenge it with honesty and humanity, Grosser has built a body of work that is inspired by political events and tackles global issues of human rights, religious freedom and free trade. In addition to the works she has created about health care inequities in the U.S. and racial tension in the American South, she is developing a series of pieces about being Jewish and coming to terms with ethnic and racial hatred spawned by the American Neo-Nazi movement.

Grosser chairs the art department and is a member of the board of trustees at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Barnard College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from Alfred State College of Ceramics and a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Ohio University.  Last spring, Grosser was invited to include show her work in “Road to Equality: The 1961 Freedom Rides," an exhibit at the historic Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, Ala., that opened to the public on May 20. Grosser was awarded the Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission and was a finalist for the Southern Arts Federation/National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowships in Sculpture.

Shearer, whose Force and Figure series was exhibited last April in Coker’s Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery, says his art involves the human body and the relationship between action and interaction.

Roefs described Shearer’s photos as “splendid in conception, composition and execution, achieving an almost sculptural effect that is highly contemporary while seemingly referencing old-masters and classical art.”

The Pee Dee Regional is the oldest continuing art competition in South Carolina and is presented by the Florence Museum Board of Trustees.  The mission of the Pee Dee Regional Art Competition is to highlight the best contemporary art in the eastern region of South Carolina, including the counties of Florence, Darlington, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter, Georgetown, Horry, Williamsburg, Dillon, Kershaw, Chesterfield and Lee.

PHOTO (Top): From left, Professor of Art Jim Boden, senior art major John Shearer and Professor of Art Jean Grosser.


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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