For its final exhibition, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center (PFAC) in Newport News, Virginia, will present Masters of Surrealism: Picasso, Dalí and Miró. On view from Nov. 21 to Dec. 20, the exhibition will feature more than 60 prints by surrealist luminaries, who sought to tap into the unconscious mind, presenting dreamlike visions in their own distinctive styles.
In the years following World War I, the surrealist artists pushed beyond depicting the landscapes, people and objects they encountered in real life. Inspired by the research of Sigmund Freud, they instead attempted to let their unconscious minds depict new realities, or as artist André Breton described in 1924, “a surreality.” Visitors to PFAC will see works on paper by the masters of the movement, including pieces by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Wifredo Lam and Roberto Matta.
The idea of “surreality” permeated art across media, crossing into film, photography and even children’s literature. The collection of prints by the masters will be complemented by Surrealism in Children’s Books, an exploration of how the surrealist movement shaped children’s books. Some of the most famous illustrators in children’s literature, such as Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss, embraced the surrealist ideas of inventing strange creatures or creating juxtapositions of uncommon imagery. Their illustrations, along with works by Brian Pinkney and Uri Shulevitz, will be on view.
In its Art Market Gallery dedicated to showcasing local artists, PFAC will display the contemporary surrealist works of Janice Hathaway. Hathaway creates digital collages she calls “transmorgraphs,” merging her photographs of landscapes, flowers and historical artifacts into imaginary worlds. While her works employ the modern methods of cutting, blending and painting in Photoshop, Hathaway’s finished pieces reflect Old Master approaches to composition and lighting.
This exhibition will be the last in PFAC’s nearly 60-year organizational history before it closes its doors at the end of 2020. Since 1962, PFAC has aimed to provide a balanced and stimulating exhibition program, be a resource for local artists, foster education for students of all ages and serve as a social hub in order to build a stronger community through art. The center began as the Peninsula Arts Association, a chapter of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and in 1983, became the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. Since then, the museum earned accreditation through the American Alliance of Museums — a rare accomplishment for a noncollecting institution.
“Throughout its history, PFAC has sought to bring ambitious, world-class art exhibitions and experiences to the Peninsula. We’ve explored art from nearly every era in art history, from ancient to contemporary, and we are so proud to finish our tenure checking one more era off our list with our first exhibition on surrealism,” said Courtney Gardner, executive director of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.
To celebrate more than 50 years of service, PFAC invites the community to make final purchases from local artists in its Gallery Shop and visit its Y’Art Sale, a chance to take home a bit of the art center and its history. Visit the website for more info on the Peninsula Fine Arts Center (PFAC).