The University of Alabama

Prints by African-American Artists Exhibited at UA’s Paul R. Jones Gallery

Lithograph print by John Woodrow Wilson

John Woodrow Wilson, 2001, “Journey of the Family Man,” Lithograph

TUSCALOOSA , Ala. — A total of 34 lithographs, serigraphs, woodcuts and engravings by African-American artists are displayed at The University of Alabama’s Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa through June 12.

All of the works are part of the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at UA.

The exhibit, “Multiple Realities,” is free and open to the public.

This exhibit was curated by Sarah Marshall, an associate professor in UA’s department of art and art history who specializes in printmaking.

“Printmaking has a rich history as a populist art form,” Marshall said. “It has been used for personal expression and as a platform to advance social change.”

A broad range of printmaking processes can be seen among pieces selected for this show. Featured artists include Michael Ellison, John Woodrow Wilson, Mamie Jo Rayburn, Romare Bearden and others.

“This show uses original, hand-pulled prints from the Paul R. Jones Collection to explore the experience of African-American artists in the 20th and 21st centuries,” Marshall said.

“The art world reflects the social attitudes of its time,” she said. “Whether as artists making their own prints or clients of professional ateliers, these artists faced increased challenges and restrictions when seeking studio access, gallery representation and attention from critics.”

Marshall received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1999.

Her interest in the process of printmaking and drawing is influenced by her interests in language, reading, book objects, architecture and biological science.

Her works on paper show organic forms that become portraits and characters; repeated in various environments, these characters examine our ideas about decision-making and the ways we treat each other.

She often manipulates text, language and translation to suggest the complexities of human thought and behavior.

Marshall has been a faculty member since 2001 at The University of Alabama, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in printmaking. Her work has been included in national and international printmaking exhibitions and has been the subject of solo exhibitions across the Southeast.

The Paul R. Jones Gallery honors the late Paul R. Jones who, during his lifetime, amassed one of the largest collections of African-American art in the world. Jones donated more than 2,100 pieces of his collection, now valued at $10.3 million, to UA in 2008.

Jones was known as a passionate collector who sought to collect from both well-known and lesser-known artists, a quality which makes his collection distinct.

The Paul R. Jones Gallery is located at 2308 6th St. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the first Friday of every month from noon to 8 p.m.

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 Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Stephanie Kirkland, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539, stephanie.kirkland@ua.edu
  • SOURCE: Katie McAllister, gallery manager, College of Arts and Sciences, mcall007@as.ua.edu