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James A. Allen (b. 1942), Middle East Madonna, 2008; acrylic on canvas cut-out, 97 x 106 ½ inches; Gift of the Artist in honor of Anthony Bannon, 2017

James A. Allen (b. 1942), Middle East Madonna, 2008; acrylic on canvas cut-out, 97 x 106 ½ inches; Gift of the Artist in honor of Anthony Bannon, 2017

James Allen is known for his social commentary expressed in paintings that often have surreal qualities and no definable, rectilinear borders. He prefers to mount his life-sized figures directly on the wall, to engage with viewers at eye level. This work referring to the ongoing war in the Middle East and the toll it takes on innocent lives, is a more recent example of his work, joining Man Watching Singer (1987) acquired with funds from M&T Bank, and American Folk Tale (1991). While he said it is not part of a particular series, it is part of a continuum of works dealing with humanity’s vulnerability.