The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University is showcasing the print series “The Divine Comedy’’ and “Dali: The Halsman Photographs’’ by Surrealist icon Salvador Dali from Oct. 4 to Dec. 10. In the adjacent MacDonald Gallery, the mixed media exhibit, “Musings of a Private Collector,’’ will be on display featuring oil paintings, etchings and prints.
The exhibits are free and open to the general public. The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Dali’s “The Divine Comedy’’ is a series of 40 colorful woodblock prints in which the artist masterfully reinterprets Dante’s “Divine Comedy,’’ just as Philippe Halsman ingeniously photographed the Spanish artist in a number of surrealistic images in the “Dali: The Halsman Photographs’’ series.
During his career, Dali rejected all contemporary movements after breaking with the surrealists in the late 1930s while he worked on defining his own original style. By taking “The Divine Comedy’’ as his theme, he affirmed his personal religious Renaissance based on progressive Catholicism. This exhibition glows with the vibrant purple, oranges and yellows that clothe Dali’s nightmarish images. Just as Virgil let Dante through the circles of Hell and Purgatory, so Dali conveys the viewer through his own strange, allegorical landscapes.
By contrast, the Halsman photographs showcase Dali’s playful, whimsical side. The Surrealists projected and flattened space to heighten the viewer’s sense of irrationality. This movement also presented the inner world of the imagination in the precise, detailed realism of the photograph.
Therefore, Halsman’s compositions delight in the playful juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated objects. In one photograph, Dali leaps before a canvas as cats fly through space, accompanied by torrents of water. Both artists found the composition of such images and interpretations to be exciting and outrageous.
For more information about Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University, call 570-674-6250.