“Looking Through My Grandfather’s Eyes”

This exhibition of works by self-taught Alabama artist Charlie Lucas is made possible by a generous gift of the collection by the artist Nall to the Eastern Shore Art Center in 2020.

Charlie Lucas, whose studio is now in Selma, Alabama, has been creating art since his childhood, but began creating art seriously after a debilitating accident in 1948. Working with cast-off materials, old tin, bicycle wheels, mufflers, wire and junk, Lucas became know and Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas. His paintings and sculptures have been exhibited nationally and internationally, exhibiting in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Birmingham and Montgomery Museums of Art, the Rosa Parks Museum and more. His work is included in collections around the United States. 

In the 1990s Lucas was chosen by the artist Nall to travel to the “Cité de l’Art,” Vence, in southern France for a two-month artist in residency at the N.A.L.L. Art Association. His first solo trip to France was particularly challenging due to his inability to read or speak French, but the residency was very productive and successful. He collected his metal parts and discards at the local dump to create his signature assemblage sculptures. One of these, titled “Looking Through My Grandfather’s Eyes” was installed around the entrance to Nall’s museum home. This outstanding piece, one of his largest, now adorns the entrance to the Nall Gallery at Eastern Shore Art Center. The gifted collection also includes Lucas’ horses, bicycle riders, fish and other linear pieces that had been scattered in Nall’s garden and woods in France, and later in Fairhope.  Lucas estimated that he made more than 40 pieces while in Vence.

Nall, 52, was born in Troy, Ala., and settled in Vence in 1991, after having studied with Salvador Dali in Spain and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Nall has showcased and sponsored the work of young artists in his programs programs throughout his career, while establishing himself as as an internationally renown and collected artist.

The Eastern Shore Art Center is pleased to be able to share the Charlie Lucas collection now to the public through March 2021.