Unearthing artistry: exploring the James Allen Excavating Books exhibit 

By Kylee Feldhusen | Staff Writer

The piece titled “Acteon Africa Atlas” by artist James Allen sits in the Bryan Oliver Gallery at Whitworth University on Oct. 18, 2023, in Spokane Wash. | Madison Stoeckler/The Whitworthian

James Allen’s “Excavating Books” exhibit was held in Whitworth University’s Bryan Oliver Gallery on Oct. 18. The exhibition was an introduction to art media mixing with literature. James Allen is a book excavator and visual artist, creating art by carving into vintage books. Allen is responsible for bringing light to this art media, turning literary relics into novel pieces of art.

The gallery opened with several vintage books that had been carved into new, retold stories. James Allen has taken it upon himself to retell these stories, an application of reverence for these hidden gems. 

“I always like to see how other people tell stories, “ said Madison Pearson, an arts and culture writer. “It can inspire artists here in the community to try out something like this.”

Retelling these vintage stories in a new medium of art is an example of art and literature coming together to reveal new, unexplored meanings. It was a must-see exhibit for any curious and inspired artists or those who are simply drawn to the boundless creativity of artists and literature.  

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