John Chang to Have Art Featured at Coker

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Sept. 19, 2013 – Coker College’s second art show of the fall season begins Sept. 23 with a reception for California artist John Chang’s mixed media paintings.

The reception is from 7 to 8 p.m. in Coker’s Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery. Light refreshments will be served, and the reception is free and open to the public. Chang’s paintings will be on view through Friday, Oct. 18.

Chang’s calligraphic paintings combine the influence of America’s abstract expressionist painters with the sacred nature of classical Chinese calligraphy.

“Chinese students are conditioned to submit to authority, in part, through the rigorous requirement of learning to memorize and write several thousand characters flawlessly,” Chang said.

At the same time, students were bombarded with those same characters in the form of propaganda which, during Chang’s youth, were plastered to walls in China’s public squares.

“In classical Chinese, the script or shu, is so sacred that it is believed to be capable of affecting change in the natural order of things,” Chang added.

Chang found inspiration for his use of energetic marks and collage in the paintings, collages and prints of western abstract expressionists Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock and pop artist Robert Rauschenberg.

Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Chang is based in Southern California. Chang’s works have been exhibited at the Alexander Brest Museum at Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Fla.; Julina Togonon Fine Art, San Francisco, Calif.; Fresh Paint Art Gallery, Culver City, Calif.; and S Cube Gallery, Laguna Beach, Calif. Chang holds a Master of Fine Arts in visual art from The Art Institute of Boston and a Bachelor of Arts in decorative arts and design from Shanghai Light Industry College. He also studied with well-known Chinese artist Xu Bing.

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.

For more information about the gallery, contact Larry 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.

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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.

For more information, contact Chris Dougherty - 843.383.8018

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