Melville Price and William Christenberry

Explorations of the Alabama Landscape

Through May 2020 - American Gallery

Artists Melville Price and William Christenberry each portray the Alabama landscape in this exhibition of 9 works on paper. Price and Christenberry were teacher and student, but the landscape of the state influenced them in different ways. Price approached the Alabama landscape through paint and collage, attempting to map out the state’s contemporary countryside with striking lines and areas of color to convey a sense of dynamism. Fascinated by the ever-changing Alabama landscape, Christenberry created his own artistic language by working across different types of media to try and capture Alabama that was steeped in his own personal history. Christenberry’s work is simultaneously about two different Alabamas: the Alabama of his youth and the Alabama of his adulthood.

Price was a member of the New York School, a group of artists active during the 1940s and 1950s that was interested in abstract forms and the use of large areas of color. He moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1958 to be the artist-in-residence at the University of Alabama. There Price met Christenberry, a young graduate student born and raised in Tuscaloosa. As a transplant, Price’s work was influenced by the natural and political landscape he discovered while Christenberry’s work was rooted in the landscape in which he grew up. Bringing these artists together creates a new understanding of them and the work they created in response to their respective experiences of Alabama.