Selected works from artist and alumnus David Sandlin will be on display at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from June 2-Aug. 20.
Two major series of works by Sandlin will be featured, “A Sinner’s Progress: A Modern Moral Journey” and “76 Manifestations of American Destiny,” and will include a selection of hand-printed books, drawings and paintings. An opening reception is planned for 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 2, in the AEIVA. Sandlin will give a lecture about his work prior to the reception at 5 p.m. The events are free and open to the public.
AEIVA is open to the public 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-6 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sundays and holidays.
Born in Belfast in 1956, Sandlin found himself transitioning from the volatile and violent political climate of Northern Ireland of the late 1960s to the American South when his family moved to Alabama in 1972. Sandlin’s work pulls from the rich history of each setting to create narrative-driven imagery exploring the disparity of both cultural landscapes, as well as their parallels. Sandlin’s elaborate books, drawings and paintings present semi-autobiographical tales of morality, redemption and American exceptionalism.
“Sandlin is an incredible painter, printmaker and illustrator,” said AEIVA curator John Fields. “His works are also saturated with references to art history, literature, historical events and political ideologies. These works are satirical and subversive, but they also present an undeniably unique and insightful representation of our cultural landscape.”
Sandlin was one of only a dozen art majors when he started at UAB in 1975, he told UAB Magazine in 2010.
“I tried everything — painting, drawing, printmaking,” he said. “I wasn’t really ready for painting yet, but printmaking was a good fit.”
Sandlin became a student of John Dillon, who taught printmaking in the UAB Department of Art and Art History from 1972 to 1997 (and for whom a departmental scholarship is named). After graduation in 1979, he moved to New York and has been working full time as an artist for nearly 40 years.
In 1989, a show of Sandlin's work, “Land of 1000 Beers, La Via Dollarosa,” was presented in Birmingham at UAB's Visual Arts Gallery and Space One Eleven. He returned to Birmingham in 2010 for the first UAB Department of Art and Art History’s Alumni Invitational Exhibition and conducted a printmaking workshop with UAB students.
Since 2009, Associate Professor of Printmaking Derek Cracco, MFA, has led the DAAH visiting artist atelier program, connecting artists to UAB art students in the joint production of unique works of art. The program promotes historical and contemporary printmaking practices and introduces printmaking methods to artists whose works typically lie outside the medium. The projects are executed within the historic tradition of the artist’s atelier, French for workshop or studio, where young artists and artisans learn techniques and execute works under a master.
Sandlin worked closely with students to create an edition of colorful lithograph prints. Sized at 22 by 30 inches, the print was created by painting with inks, Xerox toners and paint pens onto transparency films. The films were then exposed to photographic lithography plates, one color at a time. The frenetic, science fiction cartoon-inspired image is typical of Sandlin’s style, used to express ideas of individual freedom and engage in social critique. The editioned print he made with students, “Ghosts of Undead Heroes,” is on sale in the DAAH online store.
Sandlin lives in New York and teaches printmaking, book arts and illustration at the School of Visual Arts. He has exhibited extensively in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia, and his comics and illustrations have appeared in The Best American Comics 2015, 2012 and 2009; The New Yorker; Raw; and other publications. He has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, and other institutions. He also served as the Lamar Dodd Chair of Art at the University of Georgia in 2007-2008.