Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
http://www.bplonline.org
Exhibits
 

2014

Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
September 21-October 31, 2014

The Ancient Splendor by Chenghao Li
The Ancient Splendor, Chenghao Li

Nearly 60 aqua media works from across the state are on display September 21–October 31 during the 2014 Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase at the Central Library.  

E. Gordon West of San Antonio, Texas, is the selection juror. West has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has works in the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and studied at the Chicago Art Institute.

Steve Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida is the awards juror. His artwork has won international awards. He was the Purchase Award Winner of the 2006 National Watercolor Society “Best of Show.” His paintings have won four awards in the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill. 

Event
Reception and Awards Presentation: Sunday, September 21, 2:30-4:30 p.m., The Gallery
The event is free and open to the public.

2014



2014

Debra Eubanks Riffe
"Every Line Tells a Story"
July 24-August 26, 2014

Exhibit

Linoleum block relief prints selected from the portfolio of Debra Eubanks Riffe. Prints created and hand pressed from 2004 thru June 2014. 

Artist's Statement: "I enjoy the versatility and the immediacy of drawing with a pencil and the physicality of turning the wheel of a printing press. Through simplicity of form, I use basic art principles to convey shape, gesture, attitude, movement and emotion. My compositions are, exclusively, images of African Americans placed in rural southern surroundings, performing routine tasks in timeless, solitary reflective moments. These tasks speak of social status and identity; intimacy and a sense of place.

I appreciate the ordinary and I try to record details, within each print, that will stir an emotion the viewer might respond to. I’m not opposed to using a color palette, however, I can’t deny that I enjoy the challenge of printing with a rich, black oil-based ink. The contrast of sharp modulating lines on bright white paper gives each print an infinite range of tonal variations and textures."

Artist's Website: http://debrariffe.com/

Events

Birmingham Art Crawl, Thursday, Aug. 7, 5 to 9 p.m., in the 4th Floor Gallery. Riffe will be one of several artists to display works at downtown Birmingham businesses. Free. 

 

Illuminations in Poured Color: Paintings by Starr Weems
February 27-April 30

Solstice by Starr Weems

Starr Weems enjoys designing colorful, dreamlike paintings with watercolor using an unusual process which consists of layering drawing gum and transparent color to build high-contrast images. She enjoys "making art that represents the collision of reality and the fanciful world of dreams.

Artist's Website: http://www.starrweems.com/

Press Release: New Birmingham Public Library Art Exhibit Embraces the Power of Dreams

Events

Reception: Sunday, March 2, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Watercolor Workshop With Starr Weems: Sunday, March 30, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Second Floor Story Castle, Free. Call 205-226-3670 to reserve a spot.  

 

Release of the Inner Artist
February 5 - March 29, 2014

Joyce E. Brooks

Once Joyce E. Brooks managed to minimize the overload, achieve balance and gain some much deserved peace, she discovered a hidden gift deep inside of her. Joyce had never given any thought to becoming an artist. In 2010, after attending an event that included painting on canvass for entertainment, she stumbled upon a new passion. She began painting with acrylics and hasn’t stopped.

Joyce E. Brooks is also the author of the book titled Self-Inflicted Overload.

This month Joyce is celebrating being cancer-free for five years. Since being declared cancer-free in 2009, Joyce has become an artist, author, stress awareness expert, and a “mompreneur.” Joyce says, “Being diagnosed with breast cancer has been a life challenging experience. What could have been devastating has turned out to be a blessing!” 

 

Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson
January 6-February 21, 2014

The exhibit Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson  features a little known Alabama artist who died in 1980. The focus is on Wilson’s “found art” where she used wood that she scavenged from demolition sites, parts of furniture that she disassembled, old brushes, ironing boards, toilet seats and left over food for coloring. Wilson took the trash that other people discarded and used it to create art. The art illustrates the issues that were important to Wilson: environmentalism and conservation, racism, spiritualism, the needs of the aged and homeless, and the emptiness of modern American materialism.

More information and events

 

2013

Birmingham 2013: Remembering the Movement That Changed the World
November 6-December 27

Dr. William Colvin Exhibit

Exhibit Brochure (pdf)
Press Release

Heart Gallery Alabama
October 31-November 9

Heart Gallery Alabama (HGA) is a state wide non-profit agency whose mission is to help find forever families for Alabama's foster children. There are more than 300 children at any one time, who have no identified resource for a permanent home and family of their own, and these are the children for whom HGA recruits. They recruit professional photographers to volunteer to take the Children's portraits, and then take these professional grade photographs around the state to museums, malls, galleries, libraries, and other locations in order to increase awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families in the state of Alabama. Operating for almost eight years, they have been very successful in finding forever families for over 450 children statewide. As November is National Adoption Month, this is timely.

The exhibit is located on the 1st Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Event

Kickoff Party: November 6, 6:30 p.m., 1st Floor Central
This reception and information session will provide instruction on adoption in the state of Alabama and introduce some of children still hoping to be adopted as well as a few of the over 450 children successfully placed with Forever Families. 

 

Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Showcase
September 24-October 31


Maritima by Judith Aronson of Mobile

The Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase features aqua media paintings executed by watercolorists from across Alabama.

Event

Reception and Awards Presentation: Sunday, September 29, 2:30-4:30 p.m., The Gallery


Unseen...Unforgotten: Civil Rights Photographs from The Birmingham News
June 1-October 31

Birmingham Police arrest Parker High School student Mattie Howard in front of the Carver Theatre. Photo courtesy of The Birmingham News


This exhibit features 41 pictures that capture the suspense, drama, tension, struggle and triumph of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the 1950s and 1960s. Photographers with The Birmingham News took the photos, which highlight freedom riders, sit-ins, the Children's Crusade of 1963, the impact of the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and more. Courageous leaders such as the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others are featured in the exhibit. "You may have seen some of these photos in the past but the detailed captions next to each photo help you understand the full story and the achievements of the Birmingham movement,'' said Marjorie White, president of the Birmingham Historical Society. The Birmingham Historical Society organized the exhibition.

The exhibit is located on the 1st Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Press

"Unseen...Unforgotten photo exhibit installed at the Birmingham Public Library (slideshow and video)" The Birmingham News 28 January 2012  

Surfacing : The Paintings of Sky Shineman
August 15-September 20
 

Artwork by Sky Shineman

Sky Shineman is Assistant Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She received both her MFA in Studio Art and BS in English Education from Ohio State University in Columbus. She states, “In painting, I am interested in physical processes and phenomenal imagery. By employing reductive methods such as sanding and bleaching, I attempt to bring awareness to the tactile qualities of the painting object while creating imagery that is connected to its making. Ideally the process and the product overlap and enrich one another providing a multi-sensory experience. The complex relationship between how something looks and how it has come to being is the compelling question behind the Surfacing series.”

Shineman has shown in various galleries, museums, and art shows around the country including the Alabama State Council on the Arts Gallery in Montgomery and the SICA 7th Annual International Exhibition at the Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts in Long Branch, New Jersey. Her many honors include the University of Alabama Research Grants Committee Award for a project titled Personal Modernism: Relating Through Painting (2012) and the Best in Show Purchase Award at the 26th Annual West Alabama Juried Show (2010). 

Event

Reception: Saturday, August 17, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Lecture and tour by the artist, Sky Shineman: Thursday, September 19, 1:30 p.m., Central Library - Arrington Auditorium

Fusion: Sculpture by Jamey Grimes and Charles Clary
June 26-August 2

Hugg-a-Diddle Serology Movement 2 by Charles Clary strata VIa by Jamey Grimes

The sculptural work of Charles Clary and Jamey Grimes will intrigue, fascinate, and challenge viewers. It is an exhibition unlike anything shown at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) before. The artwork may resemble objects seen in nature, yet they are fictional fabrications born of the artists’ imagination.

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Artist websites: http://www.jameygrimes.com/, http://charlesclary.wordpress.com/

Reception: Saturday, June 29, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

The Art of Art Bacon, Artist and Activist
May 16-June 21

Art BaconArt Bacon is known by many as an artist, educator, and scientist. However, art has always been his passion. He was born in West Palm Beach but lived in several places in and outside of Florida. Recognized early for his artistic talent, he won many prizes and awards long before he graduated from high school. Now retired from Talladega College where he was named Professor Emeritus of Natural Sciences and Humanities, he is painting more than ever and occasionally writes and recites poetry. 

People are Bacon’s subjects of choice especially older and neglected people whose experiences show in their faces. In the early days, he worked almost exclusively with ink washes and lines—very little color. He was a minimalist and believed that color interfered with his expression of feelings. Bacon now uses more color and acrylics and a number of other media and techniques, often combining several. However, he still likes lines and his palette is still limited. A leading art critic describes Bacon’s work as “social commentary with a bold vitality.” Works by Bacon can be found in many private collections including those owned by Bill Cosby, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, and Hank Thomas. Institutions owning pieces by the artist include Alabama State University, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Mobile Museum of Art, Heritage Hall Museum, University of Maryland, Comer Museum, and Opryland. He has been featured in Southern Living and Lakeside magazines, Black Art in America, an online journal, and other publications. 

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.


Artist website: http://www.artbaconartist.com/

Reception: Sunday, May 19, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Afri-Spiritus Sembler: Diasporic Art Work
The Paintings of Mero'e Rei

April 2-May 10

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Mero’e Rei had an interest in art from an early age and began producing works of art as a teenager. His love for jazz, blues and gospel serves as the inspiration for many of his pieces. His interest in African cave and rock art has inspired his later works. Rei has shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions.

 

Rei is a native of the southern region of Alabama near Mobile. He graduated from high school in Birmingham, Alabama then attended the University of Alabama where he studied ceramics, sculpture, and print-making. He later received his B.A. at the State University of New York. Rei retired from the Office of Personnel Management of the United States Federal Government. He also served in the United States Navy as a medical corpsman. He gave many years as a clergyman in the Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. In his spare time, he studied art in galleries and museums in Spain and the Middle East.

 

Artist Statement: “My art is a visual study of Jazz music (expressions of life) inspired by the African spiritual diaspora transmuted with connection to ancient and modern elders. These inclinations are visualized in intrinsic colors, organic forms and spontaneous rhythmic patterns, utilizing fresco and a mixture of mediums as ebbing tides and flowing waves of colors emanating from my life force and internal representations. My style of work contains Color Field, Gestural and Lyrical Abstract Expressions.”

Visit the artist’s website for more information: www.meroerei.com

To purchase prints of the artist’s paintings, go to: 2-meroe-rei.fineartamerica.com.


Reception: Saturday, April 6, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Unseen...Unforgotten: Civil Rights Photographs from The Birmingham News
February 2 - March 28

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

This exhibit features 41 pictures that capture the suspense, drama, tension, struggle and triumph of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the 1950s and 1960s. Photographers with The Birmingham News took the photos, which highlight freedom riders, sit-ins, the Children's Crusade of 1963, the impact of the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and more. Courageous leaders such as the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others are featured in the exhibit. "You may have seen some of these photos in the past but the detailed captions next to each photo help you understand the full story and the achievements of the Birmingham movement,'' said Marjorie White, president of the Birmingham Historical Society. The Birmingham Historical Society organized the exhibition.

Event

Opening Reception February 2, 2013, 2:00-4:00 p.m., The Gallery

Press

"Unseen...Unforgotten photo exhibit installed at the Birmingham Public Library (slideshow and video)" The Birmingham News 28 January 2012   

2012

Attorney Shores' Scrapbook- The Life and Times of Birmingham's Civil Rights Lawyer and Civic Leader, 1939-1975
November 4 - December 28

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

 Birmingham News photo of Arthur Shores
From left, Autherine Lucy, Thurgood Marshall and Arthur Shores, exit the federal courthouse in Birmingham, Ala. in February 1956, following Lucy's reinstatement as the first black person to be admitted to the University of Alabama.
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Birmingham News
.
 
The Birmingham Historical Society and the Birmingham Public Library are showcasing the life and times of Birmingham civil rights attorney Arthur Shores in a special exhibit. The exhibit features a scrapbook of newspaper reports and printed materials, which Shores collected throughout his legal and political career.

The Birmingham Historical Society has copied numerous pages of the scrapbook, which is larger than the size of a newspaper, in order to display them in the downtown library's fourth floor gallery. Shores, who was born in 1904, was a high school principal at Dunbar High School in Bessemer, Ala. when he became a lawyer in 1937. Although Shores died in 1996 at the age of 92, the scrapbook and exhibit look at his career from 1939 to 1975.

Some of the exhibit highlights include:

  • How Shores and Thurgood Marshall successfully fought to get Autherine Lucy enrolled as the first black student at the University of Alabama in 1956
  • How Shores became the first black person to sit on the Birmingham City Council in 1968
  • How Shores fought to strike down a Birmingham zoning law, which determined which side of Center Street black people could live. (Black people could not live on the west side of the street. The zoning law was struck down in 1946. Once people started moving to the west side of the street, their homes were bombed. Shores moved his family to an east corner of Center Street in 1953.)
  • How Shores' Birmingham home, which was located in an area that was known as "Dynamite Hill" because of so many racist bombings, was bombed twice in 1963 because racists thought he was involved in an effort to integrate Birmingham schools that year
  • Ads, telegrams and memorabilia from Shores' career
Event
Opening Reception
November 4, 3:00-5:00 p.m., The Gallery
Remarks 3:30 p.m.

Shores' daughters, Helen Shores Lee and Barbara Sylvia Shores, have written a book about their father. During the Nov. 4 opening reception, they will sign copies of The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill - The Untold Story of Arthur D. Shores and His Family's Fight for Civil Rights. They wrote the book with Denise George. Helen Shores Lee is a Jefferson County circuit judge and Barbara Sylvia Shores is director of the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services. Both say they are humbled that an exhibit features their father, who fought for voting rights, housing issues, educational opportunities and more. "I'm sure if he were here, he'd be very pleased that there is a recognition of his work,'' says Helen Shores Lee.

Press and Publications

Interview of Arthur Shores' daughters, Helen Shores Lee and Barbara Sylvia Shores discussing their father and the scrapbook. Credit: Bernard Troncale.

Interview by Bernard Troncale of Arthur Shores' daughters


Gallery Guide and Timeline

"Civil rights attorney Arthur Shores' life told by daughters in new book" Birmingham News article.
 

Watercolor Society of Alabama, September 17 - October 28

Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1900-1935) July 23-September 14

In the early twentieth century, posing for a photographic portrait was an event -it was an opportunity for people to make meaningful visual statements about themselves, their families, and their communities. Those living in Fayette County, Alabama, and the surrounding area did not need to travel to a photo studio to have their picture taken. Instead, they could simply visit the Shackelford family. Mitch and Geneva Shackelford, along with their children, were multi-talented African American artists who played a central role in the rural Fayette County community of Covin. Though farming was their primary vocation, the Shackelfords were also commercial photographers who left behind a collection of more than 850 glass-plate negatives that are now preserved in the Birmingham Public Library Archives.

The Shackelfords photographed local residents and visiting travelers, taking pictures of individuals, families, school groups, and civic organizations. In an era when demeaning and stereotypical depictions of blacks were prevalent in the United States, the Shackelfords provided African Americans with a vehicle for self-representation. The Shackelford photographs offer a dynamic and rarely seen depiction of the African American experience in rural Alabama and show black people living full and vibrant lives in the face of the racial and socioeconomic oppression of the Jim Crow era. This exhibition offers a glimpse into life on both sides of the lens, telling the story of these remarkable photographers and those who stepped in front of their camera.
 
Events
Opening lecture and reception featuring Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson
July 24, 6:30 p.m., Arrington Auditorium

Curator Andrew Nelson and Shackelford decendent Annie Shackelford Gallery Talk
July 26, 12:00 p.m., 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library

Press and Publications
Brochure (pdf)
Poster
(pdf)
Press Release

Eudora Welty—Exposures and Reflections, June 5, 2012 - July 20, 2012
Four Decades: Photography from the University of Montevallo, April 17-May 25
Simpler Times: The Paintings of Maurice Cook, February 28 -April 13
The African American History Makers Quilt Exhibition, January 3-February 24


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