A visually rich survey of two hundred years of Alabama fine arts and artists
Alabama artists have been an integral part of the story of the state, reflecting a wide-ranging and multihued sense of place through images of the land and its people. Quilts, pottery, visionary paintings, sculpture, photography, folk art, and abstract art have all contributed to diverse visions of Alabama’s culture and environment. The works of art included in this volume have all emerged from a distinctive milieu that has nourished the creation of powerful visual expressions, statements that are both universal and indigenous.
Published to coincide with the state’s bicentennial, Alabama Creates: 200 Years of Art and Artists features ninety-four of Alabama’s most accomplished, noteworthy, and influential practitioners of the fine arts from 1819 to the present. The book highlights a broad spectrum of artists who worked in the state, from its early days to its current and contemporary scene, exhibiting the full scope and breadth of Alabama art.
This retrospective volume features biographical sketches and representative examples of each artist’s most masterful works. Alabamians like Gay Burke, William Christenberry, Roger Brown, Thornton Dial, Frank Fleming, the Gee’s Bend Quilters, Lonnie Holley, Dale Kennington, Charlie Lucas, Kerry James Marshall, David Parrish, and Bill Traylor are compared and considered with other nationally significant artists.
Alabama Creates is divided into four historical periods, each spanning roughly fifty years and introduced by editor Elliot A. Knight. Knight contextualizes each era with information about the development of Alabama art museums and institutions and the evolution of college and university art departments. The book also contains an overview of the state’s artistic heritage by Gail C. Andrews, director emerita of the Birmingham Museum of Art. Alabama Creates conveys in a sweeping and captivating way the depth of talent, the range of creativity, and the lasting contributions these artists have made to Alabama’s extraordinarily rich visual and artistic heritage.
About the Authors:
Elliot A. Knight is the executive director of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He previously served there as the visual arts program manager, the deputy director, and the director of the Georgine Clarke Alabama Artists Gallery.
Al Head is executive director emeritus of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
Gail C. Andrews is director emerita of the Birmingham Museum of Art.
“Alabama artists have helped contextualize the state as a place that is embracing its past while visualizing its future. Artists such as the internationally hailed quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, public artist Rick Lowe, painters Jack Whitten and Thornton Dial, and photographer Carolyn Sherer have portrayed a richer understanding of Alabama that is appreciated not only by those of us who live here but also by the nation in general. Alabama would not have the exposure or the expanded worldview that are so apparent without the work of the visual artists who have helped us reveal the complexity, diversity, and multifaceted nature of our populations and our state. Alabama artists help us define who we are and what home is.”
—from the introduction by Gail C. Andrews