TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Over the past five years of curating exhibits for the Paul R. Jones Gallery, collections manager Emily Bibb has always wanted to highlight the collection’s surrealist pieces. Now, she finally gets to explore that phenomenon.
The University of Alabama’s Paul R. Jones Gallery is exhibiting “Lucid Dreaming: Surrealism and Fantasy in the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art.” Free to the public, the exhibit is open now through Oct. 27 at the Paul R. Jones Gallery in downtown Tuscaloosa.
The exhibit, coming from the over 2,000-piece collection, highlights sculpture, paintings, photographs and prints that all exude surrealism in one way or another. Each piece, however, showcases Bibb’s favorite aspect of surrealism: dreams.
“When I think about surrealism, I like to think about those Art History 101 pieces you’d see, like Salvador Dali’s melting clocks and things like that. Like ‘is this real or am I dreaming?’” Bibb said. “And so I really wanted to incorporate that dreaminess aspect of it, and it worked really well with the pieces that we had for this exhibition.”
The dreaminess aspect of surrealist pieces inspired the title of the exhibit. Whether a traditional dream-style painting or a nightmarish sculpture, each work shows a different aspect of a dream.
“I was thinking about dreaming and what makes up dreaming, but I also wanted there to be that awakeness and awareness component, because to me, that’s also a huge part of surrealism,” Bibb said. “It’s like looking at something and having that sort of push-pull of what reality is.”
According to Bibb, lucid dreaming is a phenomenon in which subjects know that they are awake and they can direct their dreams in whatever way they please. This allows the exhibit’s viewers to interpret the works in different ways.
Bibb’s favorite pieces in the exhibit come from Laureau S. Eddie, a surrealist painter. Two of Eddie’s pieces are on display in “Lucid Dreaming.”
“The pieces by him in the exhibition are wonderful. There’s starlight and light coming from weird places, and I just really love the colors,” Bibb said. “He paints the figures with this real sort of solidity, so they really have mass and volume, which is really great.”
These pieces, along with the others in the exhibit, all come from the Paul R. Jones Collection at The University of Alabama. Paul R. Jones was a passionate collector who sought to exhibit a wide variety of artists, highlighting African-American work.
The Paul R. Jones Gallery is located in downtown Tuscaloosa at 2306 6th Street. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 8 p.m. on every first Friday.
The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.