Cedric Smith Debuts New Paintings at Paul R. Jones Museum

Cedric Smith, “Red Wild Rag,” oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.

(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) – The Paul R. Jones Museum is proud to present Cedric Smith: Horsepower, an exhibition of new work by the artist which will be on view from First Friday, October 7 through December 9, 2022. Cedric Smith will visit Tuscaloosa, Thursday, November 3, at 4:30 p.m., to present a talk in the Camellia Room of Gorgas Library, as part of the Paul R. Jones Lecture Series. There will be an artist’s reception on First Friday, November 4, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., in the Jones Museum.

Cedric Smith’s work draws on a wide range of influences and sources, traditional and contemporary, to express his poignant observations of African American life. Much of his work is inspired by his observation as a child of the absence and negative portrayals of African Americans in advertising and on the labels of popular brands. The Paul R. Jones Collection currently has two works of painting and collage by Smith that showcase American culture and Black Americana. However, in this upcoming exhibition, the artist will be featuring all-new works and a new direction in his imagery.

“This new body of work deepens Smith’s focus on Blacks’ contributions to American culture and mythology with attention on Black cowboys and jockeys,” said Emily Bibb, curator of the Jones Collection. “We are very excited to bring these new paintings to the museum.” Bibb added that when Smith visits Tuscaloosa, Thursday, November 3, as part of the Paul R. Jones Lecture Series, “We’re looking forward to hosting him and hearing more about this new direction in his work.”

Daniel White, director of the museum, said, “We are thrilled to be able to showcase Horsepower, as it’s the first showing of this brand-new series, and it is the artist’s first exhibition of his work at a university. This exhibition evolved out of conversations we had with Cedric Smith. He was eager to try out a new direction from the format that he was known for: historical photos of figures, collaged onto a painted surface. For us at the museum, as longtime admirers of his work, we were very open to giving him space to present new work. We immediately created a solo exhibition for him in the calendar. This series is comprised of oil-on-canvas paintings depicting Black cowboys and Black horse jockeys, their stories told through his research. These previously untold stories and histories are now coming to light in literature and film, and the timing is very relevant.” White added, “Exhibitions like this, in which we are able to open the space for the artist to carve a new path and to introduce our audience to his new work, are very fulfilling to us as a museum.”

The Paul R. Jones Museum is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on the First Friday of the month, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Call the museum at (205) 345-3038 or email the director for more information. The Paul R. Jones Museum is located at 2308 Sixth Street, in downtown Tuscaloosa, one block from the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center.

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