Salvador Dali (1904-1989) referred to modern art as a great void. Although he was a contemporary of this period, the painter has reserved himself a category of his own. Through his playfulness with form and space, the world has inherited such beloved surrealist paintings as “The Persistence of Memory” (1931) and “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” (1937). Dali’s transcendent artistic ability and vision has hypnotized countless admirers since he first grew to fame. Since then, the artist has enchanted us with his line, writing and eccentric personality.
It is the vastness of his life’s achievements that makes Dali’s debut in the George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University an exciting event for art lovers across campus and beyond. Two of his pieces, “Tiger Lillies” (1972) and “Manhattan Skyline” (1976), now grace the walls of the gallery’s current display. As is usually the case with work by this master, the visuals a viewer immediate absorbs only play at the multitude of events taking place within the frame.
Diamond Carter, a sophomore business major, is a Montclair State student who found “Manhattan Skyline” particularly interesting. She said, “There are so many neat details that aren’t noticeable in the beginning. I’m still finding them,” she said.
It only takes seconds for the painting to begin to reveal itself, as is the case with both “Tiger Lillies” and “Manhattan Skyline.” Both are a treat for any students and faculty members interested in taking a look.
The Dali pieces are not the only ones in the current exhibition. Aquatint drawings done by George Segal, New York native artist and sculptor, provide dynamic contrast to the show. Most of them are black and white, but one piece, “Summer Cabin,” is a colorful, three-dimensional glimpse into a vivid memory of a tranquil, lazy day. Yellows, greens and oranges make the sculpture a drawing point in the space.
Angelica Santiago, senior fine arts major cited “Summer Cabin” as her present favorite. “I enjoy the vibrancy of his vision brought to life. It’s very interactive and is, in my opinion, very interesting,” said Santiago.
In addition to Segal and Dali, there are a number of other contemporary artists represented from around the world, including a piece by Sin Titulo, which is a 3-D image painting. Alyssa Tung, senior fine arts major, found this one the most compelling. “You need 3-D glasses. From afar, you don’t see the story until you step closer. The colors work very well,” said Tung.
There is no common theme binding the total exhibition together and I would not go so far to speculate one for the director of the gallery, Teresa Rodriguez.
What could be drawn from the exhibition is that talent comes in several forms. The most recent exhibit since The Enchanting Art of Japan, Dali, Segal and Others brings life back into the fourth floor of the Red Hawk Deck. Dali may be the most renown artist presented, but Segal and the others hold their own.
We will never know what Dali may have thought of being displayed alongside these artists, although considering his ambition and perspective, he may have thought his work to be the best. The current exhibit will be present until Feb. 20.