The University of Alabama Gallery will present For the Record: The Art of Al Sella, August 2-September 27, 2019. The public is invited to a reception on Friday, September 6 (First Friday in downtown Tuscaloosa), from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Works from the Sella Estate, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art and private collections will be on display.
Noted Guatemalan artist and arts educator Carlos Mérida wrote, “Sella has fertile imagination, variety, and is a colorist of first quality,” in Mérida’s introduction to the catalog for Sella’s solo exhibition at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 1946.
“The rumors are indeed true,” beamed UA Gallery director Daniel White. “We have been working hard behind the scenes for many months for this show, and we are proud to announce that we will have a solo survey of Al Sella’s work at the UA Gallery in August! Paul Barrett, the guest curator for this exhibition, has brought together a great group of collectors and institutions as we celebrate the work of Professor Sella as it stands on its own.”
“The exhibition includes paintings, assemblages and prints from 1960 through the 2000s,” notes Barrett. “After experiencing so much of Al Sella’s work over the course of organizing this show, it’s no surprise Alabama State Council on the Arts Executive Director Elliot Knight included Sella in his recent book, Alabama Creates: 200 Years of Art and Artists, published by University of Alabama Press.”
Alvin C. Sella, who died in 2013, taught at The University of Alabama for 50 years, first as a tenured professor of art, hired in 1960, and later after his retirement in 1996, as professor emeritus, until 2010. Born in West Hoboken, New Jersey, Sella studied art at the Yale School of Fine Arts, Art Students League of New York, Columbia University School of Arts, Syracuse University College of Fine Arts, University of New Mexico department of art and, independently, in Mexico.
Sella spent his early career studying and painting in Mexico, before accepting a position as artist-in-residence at Sullins College in Bristol, Va., where he later served as head of the department of art before coming to Tuscaloosa.
Sella had numerous solo exhibitions throughout his career. His work appeared in the Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City; Collectors of American Art in New York City; the Carroll Knight Gallery in St. Louis, Mo.; and over 20 other galleries. His work also appeared in over 200 group shows. Sella’s paintings are held in numerous private collections as well as the corporate collections of Hinton Properties and Kovach Industries International. Sella was affiliated with the Frank Fedele Gallery in New York City.
He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Artist Award from Magic City Art Connection in Birmingham. In 1999, The University of Alabama Society for the Fine Arts awarded Sella its Distinguished Arts Career Award. In 2009, the Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded him the Governor’s Arts Award.
Image credit (top right): Alvin C. Sella, Untitled, 1964, oil on canvas, Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art; Gift of Alvin C. Sella through the Museum Art Education Council.
Image credit (above left and featured): Alvin C. Sella in his studio, probably taken in 1965 during a photo shoot for the Crimson White for a story about his painting “The X Game” at the Southeastern Annual Exhibition in Atlanta (see Crimson White, Oct. 28, 1965). Courtesy of the Sella Estate.
The University of Alabama Gallery is located in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, 620 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, Ala., 35401. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 12 noon until 8:00 p.m. on the First Friday of each month. For more information about this exhibition and all our programs, call (205) 345-3038.