Huntsville Museum of Art

Huntsville, AL

256-535-4350 or 800-786-9095


Encounters: Dale Lewis


Through February 18, 2001, the Huntsville Museum of Art will present Encounters: Dale Lewis, featuring a selection of spirited sculptural works and studio furniture pieces by Dale Lewis, one of Alabama's premier artists working in wood.

Dale Lewis became serious about woodworking as a middle-aged man in the early 1980s, after having spent most of his professional life in the media and graphic arts His interest in working with wood soon became an outright passion, and through study of manuals and some trial and error, he became technically proficient in a few short years. (left: Clown Princess, 2000, curly maple, dyed and natural)

Since the mid-1980s, he has continued to gain stature in the art world through exhibiting his works in galleries, competitions and festivals throughout the Southeast. He has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including a prestigious Fellowship in Crafts from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 1987.(right: Afishionado, 1996, curly maple, cherry and moradillo)

"Lewis considers himself 'a furniture maker with an artist's eye,'" Chief Curator Peter Baldaia said. "Most of his pieces are fluid and sensual with strong human or animal characteristics and are nearly always functional, or follow a functional form." His works range from full-scale tables, benches, cabinets and chairs to smaller vessels and boxes. "One of the unique characteristics of his work is that each piece is given an amusing name. Usually the title involves a clever play on words that also refers to an element of the design," Baldaia added. Although Lewis' works emphasize the playful, they are seriously and painstakingly hand-crafted with an emphasis on the highest quality of form, technique and materials. (left: Teanacious, 1999, cherry, birch, and bubinga)

The exhibition is part of the Museum's on-going Encounters series. "The Museum's prestigious Encounters series is part of its strong commitment to showcasing the best the state has to offer," Baldaia said. The 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.

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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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/27/11

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