The University of Alabama’s Paul R. Jones Gallery will open its newest exhibit, “Eclectic Way,” this Friday, Nov. 3. But what’s so “eclectic” about these pieces isn’t the art itself, but the artists — they’re all undergraduate students from the University.
The exhibit runs through Dec. 15, and an opening reception will be held Nov. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Sarah Marshall’s intermediate printmaking classes had an unusual assignment for the semester: to rework, reimagine or respond to a piece from the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art and make it their own.
“Some are working with visual representation, some are working more with the message of the piece,” said John Klosterman, one of the graduate teaching assistants for the class. “Each individual person has their own interpretation.”
Each student’s project is unique, not only in their own work, but also in their artist selection. Senior Kenya Russell chose an abstract piece by a little-known artist named Andr3ei, while senior Angel Greene chose Jessica Scott Felder, a well-documented, very active artist who focuses on portraits and drawing from her roots.
“[The pieces] are more of a response to the piece I chose, not an exact replica of the piece,” Russell said. “I guess it’s like a reinterpretation of what we were looking at.”
After students choose their inspiration, the semester-long process of drawing, etching and then printing their work begins. Each piece is drawn out with graphite, then pressed onto either linoleum (for relief printmaking) or limestone (for lithography).
“For lithography, we take a piece of limestone, and we grain it and grain it until it’s a flat surface, like a table,” Russell said. “We use a black lithography crayon and we transfer our drawings from the paper to the actual stone.”
The images on limestone are stabilized chemically, while the linoleum is carved away with gouges. Next, the images are inked and run through a printing press. The act of printing is a workout, with several steps that must be followed perfectly.
“The printer looks like a big, 15th-century-style machine, which is hand operated,” Russell said. “We crank it and it comes out. We call it the gym.”
Now that the process is complete and the semester is coming to a close, the students will hang their pieces next to their inspirations in the Paul R. Jones Gallery for their show “Eclectic Way.”
“This opportunity to work directly with a major collection challenges young artists to develop content and technique in their own work.” – Sarah Marshall, associate professor of art and printmaking
All 12 original works, as well as the 12 student works, will be on display at the gallery, which is located at 2306 6th Street, downtown Tuscaloosa. 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 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.