Artist experiments with melted plastic, landscapes


One of several sculptures by Tuscaloosa artist Jamey Grimes available for viewing at the Kentuck Art Center gallery. Photo Courtesy of Jamey Grimes

John Hinshaw

Whether one likes observing art, listening to it or eating it, the Kentuck Art Center can satisfy a variety of artistic needs this summer with their upcoming July Art Night exhibit.

Art Night features a variety of activities, including open artist studios, cob oven pizza, live music by Vinyl Showdown, an open gallery shop and more.

“Art Night is a great way for people to connect with our exhibiting artist and studio artists,” Holly Roberts, program manager for the Kentuck Art Center, said.

The exhibit will feature the sculptures of Tuscaloosa artist Jamey Grimes. Using melted plastic, Grimes has manifested his artistic vision into various landscapes and sculptures titled “WASH.”

“I used corrugated sign plastic for most of the work,” Grimes said. “It is cut and melted to create organic forms. The July 3 Kentuck exhibit will feature several sculptures made of yellow plastic, as well as a piece that will feature projection mapping techniques.”

Roberts first found out about Grimes’ artwork when his exhibit “Roil” was featured at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Alabama. Although Roberts has never worked with a sculptural installation artist before, she said she was anything but reluctant to incorporate Grimes’s art into one of Kentuck’s exhibits.

“I thought it was such a great show,” Roberts said. “His caliber of work is at such a high standard. It stuck with me. I can’t wait to see where his artistry will be in ten years. Grimes represents the Alabama arts in such a positive way.”

Grimes grew up in an artistic family and has been creating art in one way or another since his childhood. His upcoming exhibit is not his first foray into having his art displayed in Tuscaloosa.

“I have worked with both Kentuck and the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa in the past to demonstrate student projects through the UA College of Engineering’s 3-D Printing Lab and Makerspace,” Grimes said. “In fact, some of the technology from these labs inspired collaborations with Creative Campus and Rick Snow, directly influencing the projection mapping work that I will share at Kentuck.”

The projection mapping technique is rather new for Grimes, but he gained experience using it this past spring at the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center and the Chipola Center for the Arts. Grimes said using a digital projector helps add another complete layer to his work. The University of Alabama has contributed to Grimes’ vision by allowing him to use their own digital projector.

“We are able to utilize a powerful projector through cooperation with The University of Alabama’s department of theater and dance, allowing us to use the large black box theater for this installation,” Grimes said.

Grimes’ artwork will be featured in another exhibit July 11 at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. This exhibit will coincide with the Kentuck Art Center’s exhibit to spread awareness of Grimes’ artwork throughout Tuscaloosa. The July Art Night will take place Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.