Student’s “Upcycled” Sculpture Reflects the Contradictions of Life

Resurface – MA Exhibition by Meredith RandallMeredith Randall - Resurface, MA Exhibition
September 30 – October 25, 2013, Sella-Granata Art Gallery
Reception Thursday, October 3, 5-8 p.m. in the SGG

The UA Department of Art and Art History is pleased to announce Meredith Randall’s MA exhibition, Resurface, will open September 30 and run through October 25 in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery in Woods Hall on UA campus. There will be a reception Thursday, October 3 (Art Night) from 5 – 8 p.m.

Meredith Randall, a Tuscaloosa native, has spent her life working in art, both creating her own and helping others, especially children, find their creative sides. Born and raised in the midst of the folk art and self-taught art resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, Meredith Randall has taken found materials to the next level: “upcycling” and using post-consumer waste products.

“I grew up going to Kentuck [Festival of the Arts] and I was influenced by those artists,” she explains.  She admires the way artists like Charlie Lucas, Woodie Long and Jimmy Lee Sudduth use found elements in their work, although, she notes, their choices of materials tend to be more organic, closer to their original components, and with an intrinsic harmony.  “Those artists make everyday materials lyrical,” says Randall. Using synthetic found and recycled materials gives a different feel to her work, she observes. Her three-dimensional art work alludes to the natural processes of growth, erosion and decomposition that occur over time.  “Using synthetic materials to create pieces that refer to those natural processes sets up a dissonant relationship between the idea of the work and what it is made of.  Materials like packaging foam are often thought of as disposable although they do not decompose.”

“My sculptures are made of Styrofoam pieces, bubble wrap and plastic grocery bags that I have collected myself and with the help of those around me. In several of my pieces I create structural components and then embed the discarded materials in reinforced concrete.” A very human, communal element remains important to her work because her family and friends often contribute those “upcycled” materials to her collection.

Meredith Randall has also given back to her community in several ways. Since 2010, she has worked with Black Belt 100 Lenses project, first as a volunteer, then as curator and co-director in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, she served as the Visual Arts Summer Program Manager at the MacDonald Hughes Center in Tuscaloosa.  She has also taught art to elementary school children as part of the Arts Renaissance in Tuscaloosa Schools program at Matthews Elementary and Woodland Forrest Elementary schools in Tuscaloosa.

At Black Belt 100 Lenses, founded by Elliot Knight, Randall and co-director Kristin Law helped high school students from Alabama’s twelve Black Belt counties take photographs to “capture the images in your life that you see as significant in both positive and negative ways.” She also worked at the five-day Black Belt 100 Lenses Summer Camp on UA campus, helping students to develop their skills and ideas about their photography and helping organize and curate the final traveling exhibition of their work.

Randall received her BFA in sculpture from The University of Alabama in 2011, where she graduated summa cum laude with a minor in psychology.  She has exhibited her work in juried and invitational exhibitions throughout the southeast, including the Rymer Gallery Juried Exhibition Units of Measurement in Nashville; University of Mobile Sculptors of Alabama Invitational Exhibition; and von Liebig Art Center Juried Exhibition in Naples, Florida. She will have work in the Alice Sabatini Gallery Juried Exhibition in Topeka, Kansas, upcoming in 2014, and she will participate in Springhill College Gallery’s Invitational Exhibition in Mobile later this year. Locally, she has exhibited at the Pie Lab in Greensboro and at Harrison Galleries in Tuscaloosa. Randall has exhibited her raku work in the Turmoil & Transcendence exhibition sponsored by Kentuck Art Center after the April 27, 2011, tornado, and her ceramics have been included in the UA student organization Crimson Ceramics’ booth at Kentuck Festival. Her website address is

The MA exhibition is in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree and a requirement for the student’s acceptance into the Master of Fine Arts degree program. For more information on the graduate programs of the UA Department of Art and Art History, visit this link:


For further information, contact Meredith Randall