Terry Allen tells tales through his artwork. His stories are fictional, he claims, though "they lie their way to the truth." Although he is not known primarily for his print work -- he's a musician, video artist, playwright and installation artist -- Allen uses prints to develop his narratives, which tackle themes of escapism, identity and the desire to connect with other human beings as well as social issues such as illegal immigration. For Terry Allen: Voices & Scrawl
at the Belger Arts Center, Allen created a series of branding irons, each with its own symbol -- a watch, a computer cursor, double crosses, a skull, an X, the phrase "All artists try to be God and will burn in hell" -- arranged in a whirlpool design. Allen used the irons to brand pieces of paper and to leave marks on the gallery's walls, ceiling and floor, many of which are still visible.