UA Art Alumni Celebrate ‘Blue’ in International Conference

UA art alumni Karen Graffeo, Jim Neel and Scott Stephens, and UA Honors College instructor Chip Cooper join Cuban and American artists for a Cuba/USA collaborative exhibition, Azul/Blue, part of the colloquium, “Blue Nature,” presented by the University of Montevallo Art Department, March 5 and 6, 2020.

Group of Cuban and American artists at an art opening in Havana.
The Azul/Blue inaugural opening in Havana — with Enedys Seijo Planes, Yamilaine Trujillo, Guillermo Estrada Viera, Julio Angel Larramendi, Karen Graffeo and Jorge Foyo. Photo courtesy of Karen Graffeo.

Azul/Blue was organized and curated by Karen Graffeo and Julio Larramendi for the Havana Biennial of Art and the exhibition is now open at the The Gallery at Bloch Hall at the University of Montevallo.

UM will host a two-day interdisciplinary colloquium that brings together scholars, experts and students from the US and Cuba to “explore blue ideas, materials, and spaces, from medieval literature to early modern painting to local waterways to Caribbean islands.” The colloquium features faculty research and creative endeavor, students’ art installations and research projects, and guest lectures, to put into context our community’s blue experiences and to provoke creative thinking about the nature of blue.

Poster for the Azul/Blue exhibition in Havana. The photo is a collaboration between Natalia Bolivar and Karen Graffeo. Used with permission.

Artist Karen Graffeo will introduce an artists’ talk for the exhibition at 5 pm Thursday, March 5. Cuban artist Esteban Jiménez and New York artist Susan Sechler Luss will present their collaboration in the gallery with a reception following. Graffeo said that the exhibition began in Havana as part of the Havana Biennale. “It has always been my plan that the exhibition would touch both shores as a radiant act of cultural ambassadorship.”

Friday, March 6, there will be a “gallery walk and talk” in Bloch Hall, ground floor, for the Cahaba River Watershed Project, with alumnus Scott Stephens and artists Lee Somers and Elisabeth Pellathy.

Exhibiting artists in Azul/Blue include Julio Larramendi, Karen Graffeo, Natalia Bolivar, Esteban Jiménez, Rolando Vasquez, Angel Ramirez, Jorge Foyo, Yailin Alfaro Guillin, Jose Vasquez, Sandra Dooley, John Demotte, Susan Sechler Luss, Scott Stephens, Lesbia Vent Dumois, Chip Cooper, Liesa Cole, Beth Russell, Helga Mendoza, Janice Kluge, Lynne Bethard Neel, Jim Neel, Guillermo Estrada Viera, Sonja Rieger, Gary Chapman, Patricia Potter, and others.

For more information, contact 205-665-6400 or or go to the website for the conference.

UA art alumni, send us your news! For more information about the programs in the UA Department of Art and Art History, go to this page or contact the department at (205) 348-5967. 

Brochure with artists' work for exhibition Azul/Blue.
Work in Azul/Blue by Jorge Foyo, Esteban Jiménez and Beth Russell.