SMGA Showcases Works by Acclaimed Alumni Artist

Thornton Willis, “Black Warrior,” 2008, oil on canvas, 70 x 59 inches

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is pleased to present Exploring Thornton Willis, March 31 – May 11, 2022, featuring paintings by the artist from the gallery’s Permanent Collection. A reception will be held Friday, April 1, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the gallery.

Curated by gallery director and associate professor of art William Dooley, this exhibit offers a career survey of painting by Willis, an acclaimed second-generation abstract expressionist artist and UA alumnus. Works selected span more than 40 years of Willis’ oeuvre, presenting his evolution of thought as an artist.

UPDATE: Read a review Thornton Willis’ career and current exhibitions by Dana Gordon of the New York Sun.

In 2018, a notable gift of paintings was made to the SMGA’s Permanent Collection by Thornton Willis and Vered Lieb. This generous donation allows the gallery “to share with the public the artist’s works of abstraction that carry the full echo of their predecessors and to illustrate his historic five decades as a New York painter for students and Alabama communities as well as a wider audience,” explained Dooley.

Art history students visit the Permanent Collection’s curation space to study artist Thornton Willis’ paintings up close.

Willis, a native of Mississippi who received his MA in painting from UA, has works in many prominent public and private collections and has received numerous awards including grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Willis is represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York.

Funding support for the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art comes from the UA Department of Art and Art History and the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional support comes from the Farley Moody Galbraith Endowment.

Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. when school is in session. The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is located at 103 Garland Hall in the heart of UA campus on Woods Quad. Information about visitor parking is available on the UA Parking Services website.

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. We invite you to visit us for a class, an opportunity to look at art, or just a quiet, meditative respite from the outside world. Visitors are not required but are encouraged to wear masks inside the gallery. Have questions or need assistance? Contact the gallery at 348-1891 or visit us online.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in art history and studio art, visit our Degree Programs page.