Something changed in 1905. Claude Monet at age 65, the father of Impressionism, was still painting, but there was a shift in color, mood and precision. The cool blues, crisp whites and rich greens that signified a Monet slowly shifted to tones of yellow, red and purple. From 1915 to 1922, Monet’s artwork veered toward the abstract with even more emphasis on red and yellow hues, larger brush strokes, and an absence of light blues.
While artists past and present change their focus, evolve in technique and experiment with new media, for Monet the temperature of his work was frustrating and unintentional, according to University of Calgary’s department of psychology. In “Art, Vision and the Disordered Eye,” the artist is reported to have written about his declining vision to a friend, G. or J. Bernheim-Jeune:
To think I was getting on so well, more absorbed than I’ve ever been and expecting to achieve something, but I was forced to change my tune and give up a lot of promising beginnings and abandon the rest; and on top of that, my poor eyesight makes me see everything in a complete fog. It’s very beautiful all the same and it’s this which I’d love to have been able to convey. All in all, I am very unhappy. — August 11, 1922, Giverny.
A year later, Monet received surgery for a cataract in his right eye. The dangerous, painful surgery and tragic results of May Cassatt’s cataract treatment convinced Monet to refuse operation on his left eye, said the University of Calgary. The en plein air artist adopted a wide-brimmed panama hat, spectacles and a color-coding system and continued to produce work until his death in 1926. Fellow French artist Paul Cézanne described Monet as “only an eye — yet what an eye.”
Monet is one of the artists explored during the Birmingham Museum of Art’s public tour on Saturday, May 9. Partnering with Disability Rights and Resources in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the docent-led event will also highlight Dale Chihuly and Josiah Wedgwood, artists, like Monet, who lived with and created art despite life-altering disabilities.
Public Tour: Artists with Disabilities is a free event on Saturday, May 9 from 1–2 p.m. at the Birmingham Museum of Art. For more information, visit artsbma.org.
SATURDAY, MAY 9
Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama Garden Art Party — Iron City. 513 22nd Street S. Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama’s annual fundraising art auction will feature Birmingham-centric works created by local artists, reflecting ACA’s roots in the heart of the Magic City. A live and silent auction will take place accompanied by live music and cocktails. 7–9 p.m. $95. For more information, visit alzca.org.
Handmade Art Show — Homewood Patriot Park. 710 Oak Grove Road. Returning for its 21st year, in collaboration with the Homewood Arts Council, Handmade Art Show will gather local artists to present and sell their wares. Food and live music will round out the daylong event. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. For more information, call (310) 463-6236.
MONDAY, MAY 11
Sew-Op Open House —Bib and Tucker Sew-Op. 210 41st Street S., Woodlawn. The Woodlawn-based sewing and quilting non-profit is offering monthly open houses for those who cannot attend sewing classes during the day. During these evening sessions, attendees may connect with sewing enthusiasts, get tips on sewing projects or offer skills to beginners. Guests can try a simple sewing activity or bring projects of their own to work on. 6–8 p.m. $5. For more information, visit bibandtuckersewop.org.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13
Paperworkers Local Open Studio — PaperWorkers Local. 3815 Clairmont Ave S. Every Wednesday evening PaperWorkers Local hosts this open studio for creating and discussing art, group projects and community building. 5:30 p.m. Free. For more information, visit PaperWorkers Local on Facebook.
THURSDAY, MAY 14
Tech and Technique Workshop — Matthew’s Bar and Grill. 2215 First Ave N. Sidewalk Film Festival presents this color-correcting workshop led by Chris Tomberlin from Outpost Pictures. Tomberlin will correct a portion of a selected short during the workshop and color correct the rest of the project. Visit Birmingham365 for submission guidelines. 6:15 p.m. Free. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Atlantic Way Opening — Gianmarco’s Restaurant. 721 Broadway St., Homewood. Irish painter Mark Dwyer offers 30 original oil and pallet knife paintings in Wild Atlantic Way. The exhibit centers on “Boglands and Turf Boats,” a common sight in Western Ireland. Dywer’s work can be found in private collections worldwide including those of President Barack Obama and of the An Taoiseach, Prime Minister of Ireland. 6–9 p.m. Free. For more information, visit markdwyer.info.
The Amazing Art of Local Curiosities — Birmingham Public Library (Central). 2100 Park Place. Birmingham artists Cory Casella, Melissa Shultz-Jones and Paul Cordes Wilm share their iconic and unconventional perspectives on life in the South in this exhibit in Birmingham’s downtown library. An opening reception will be held on Saturday May 16, 3–5 p.m. The exhibit will be available during library hours through June 26. Free. For more information, visit bplonline.org.
Not an Arab Spring — Beta Pictoris Gallery. 2411 Second Ave N. Iranian artist Taravat Talepasand’s exhibit at Beta Pictoris, Not an Arab Spring, confronts the roles of women and their bodies in both Western and Eastern culture. Free. For more information, call (205) 413-2999.
Negotiated Identities/Saints and Tears — Space One Eleven. 2407 Second Ave. N. Space One Eleven is hosting an “art exchange” between artists from the South and Romanian artists. Historical artifacts from both countries are used in a variety of media to represent the individual among cultural traditions from communism to authoritarianism, from religion to contemporary American and Romanian societies. Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Through May 22. Free. For more information, visit spaceoneeleven.org.
The Sacred and the Mundane — The Future East Lake Performing Arts Center. 7604 First Ave. N. The Sacred and the Mundane: Transforming the Worldly Discarded into Art of the Supernatural is an art exhibit of found-object collage and assemblage, inspired by Hopi Indian kachina dolls, masks and costumes by local artist-historian Craig Legg. Saturdays 10 a.m.–3 p.m., or by appointment through May 31. Free. For more information, call (205) 410-7702.
Aldridge Gardens En Plein Air — Aldridge Gardens. 3530 Lorna Road, Hoover. En plein air translates from the French to “open air” and refers to painting or drawing outdoors in the open air. Last May, 10 local artists, including Amy Collins, Diane Newsome and Amy R. Peterson, created pieces depicting Aldridge Gardens en plein air. Their artwork will be on display in the Eddie and Kay Aldridge Arts & Historical Collections Museum through June 8. Open daily, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. For more information, visit aldridgegardens.com.