Huntsville Museum of Art

Huntsville, AL

256-535-4350 or 800-786-9095


Encounters: Jere Allen


"Encounters: Jere Allen" opens November 19, 2000, and runs through March 4, 2001, in the Grisham Gallery of the Huntsville Museum of Art. It features a selection of luminous paintings by this Southern artist who has garnered international praise for the evocative and haunting elegance of his work.

Allen's art is best described as figurative and often deals with modern day political and social realities. His paintings present what the artist calls "notions," images that rise up from his subconscious and are usually explored in a series of a dozen or more works. (left: Self Portrait with Dog of War, 1989, oil on canvas, 50 x 48 inches)

"Allen paints in the tradition of the 19th century portrait artist, but with an expressionistic flair that is reminiscent of the early 20th century artists Egon Schiele and Edvard Munch, as well as the contemporary master Francis Bacon," Chief Curator Peter Baldaia said. The artist is also known for his celebration of the female form in his work.

Born in Selma in 1944 and educated in public schools, Allen drew and sketched during classes, often getting into trouble. Once he sketched a teacher in the nude and got a paddling for his genius. After graduating from the Ringling Art Institute in Sarasota, Florida, he served in the Marine Corps and then enrolled at the University of Tennessee, where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1972. He has recently retired from the University of Mississippi, where he taught painting for 28 years. Alien is included in Who's Who in American Art, was awarded the 1993 Visual Art Award of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and was the recipient of an individual Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission. (left: Lauren, 2000, oil on linen, 36 x 28 inches)

Encounters: Jere Allen is part of an on-going Museum series which is organized by the chief curator with the intent to showcase the best the state has to offer. "The Huntsville Museum of Art is arguably the only museum in Alabama that seriously collects and exhibits the work of living Alabama artists," Baldaia said.

The Encounters series began in 1986 as a showcase for contemporary art with ties to Alabama and the Southeast. Since that time, the Huntsville Museum of Art has presented three solo exhibitions annually, focusing on a wide variety of styles and media. (left: Muse with Mentors and Charge, 1997, oil on linen, 66 x 72 inches)

Museum visitors can learn more about the works in the exhibition during a Slide Presentation and Gallery Walk with Jere Alien on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. The Women's Guild will host a reception following the event. There is no charge for the program.

Peter J. Baldaia

Peter J. Baldaia has served as Chief Curator of the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama, since February 1994. He was formerly Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, Illinois, and Curator at the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, Massachusetts. He has organized more than 50 major exhibitions of historical and contemporary art in the last eighteen years. Recent exhibitions presented at the Huntsville Museum of Art have included over a dozen acclaimed Encounters solo shows of contemporary Southern art, as well as the blockbuster exhibitions Splendors of a Golden Age: Italian Paintings from Burghley House, A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum and Land of the Winged Horsemen: Art in Poland 1572-1764. (left: Peter Baldaia, Chief Curator, Huntsville Museum of Art)

Baldaia attended the Rhode Island School of Design and received his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended graduate school at Brown University in Providence and Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master's degree in Art History and Museum Studies from Boston University Graduate School. He is a member of the American Association of Museums, the Southeastern Museums Conference, and the Alabama Museum Association, and since 1995 has been listed in the annual reference publication, Who's Who in American Art.

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