The Museum of the Mississippi Delta will open a unique exhibition featuring Greenwood native and artist, Reuben Hale, on January 14 on view through April 2, 2022. Reuben Hale: a Retrospective will feature nearly fifty works by Hale, including large sculptures, holograms, paintings, watercolors, pastels, drawings and photographs.
Hale was a versatile artist whose work was exceptionally broad in scope. In sculpture, he worked in a variety of mediums, including wood, stone, steel and bronze. His paintings used oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolors and tempera. In addition to being a sculptor and painter, Hale was a printmaker, photographer, holographer, illustrator and set designer. During his last three decades, Hale’s sculptural work shows his fascination with the changing role of women in society.
Born in 1927 in Belzoni, Mississippi, Reuben Aldridge Hale, Jr. moved to Greenwood with his family in 1934. He served in World War II and upon his return, enrolled at the University of Mississippi and later graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). He developed a strong background in classical art while at SAIC. He later went on to study abstract expressionist painting with Hans Hofmann and Paul Burlin and sculpture with Reuben Nakian. Hale earned his Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University.
After accepting a position as an art instructor at Palm Beach Junior College (now Palm Beach State College), Hale moved to Florida where he went on to serve as the college’s Chairman of Fine Arts and later Chairman of Humanities. Upon his retirement, he served as the Executive Director of the school’s Duncan Theatre and the Lannan Art Museum.
“Hale’s work is incredibly versatile and extraordinary in so many ways,” says Katie Mills, Executive Director of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta. “In keeping with the museum’s passion to exhibit the work of Delta artists, it is a tremendous honor to be the first venue to host a retrospective exhibition of Hale’s work since his passing in 2018.”
In 2019, Hale’s daughter, Irma Hale, started a foundation dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of her father’s work. “I’m very excited to be bringing so much of my father’s work to Greenwood,” says Hale. “I spent every summer there with my grandparents when I was growing up, so it is my home, too. This is our first big exhibition since we started Reuben’s foundation, and I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s going to be back in Greenwood. See you soon.”