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Jackson, MS 39201

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30 Years, a Yazoo City Baseball Diamond, and a Bouldin Portrait

​Last Friday was the Museum’s annual Rembrandt Society Dinner, where we thank some of our most dedicated supporters and members. It was a wonderful evening to reflect on why arts and cultural institutions are so important to the state. And while there is plenty of quantitative evidence of the Museum’s activity and success, there was another, more human exemplar of its relevance. Melvin Johnson, a thirty year veteran of MMA and part of the preparatory team that cares for and hangs the art here, was a special guest at the dinner - in recognition of his contributions to this place but also so that his portrait, painted by celebrated artist Jason Bouldin, could be unveiled.

Melvin spoke about his career, both during the dinner and the week leading up to it. About how it started back in the ‘80s when he was asked by Chief Preparator (and high school classmate) L.C. Tucker to help frame and prepare a few artworks for an upcoming show. “That project never ended,” said Melvin. ...

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Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 by MMA

Pixelizing the Tangible

The Museum is currently underway on a comprehensive digitization process to catalog the works in its collection. The ultimate potential uses for such a resource are endless, from making work available to the wider public in the nearby community to broadening the reach of works in the collection to scholars across the globe.

Mark Geil, professor of photography at Jackson State University, is executing this ambitious task. He sees his work not only as meticulous and measured, but colored with mystery and humanity. “I’m definitely seeing some of my heroes,” says Geil. “Lee Friedlander and William Eggleston and Birney Imes. I’m a photographer so I’m drawn to the photographers. I have to make myself keep going rather than staring at a print and being lost in its presence.”

At any given time, most of the works in any museum’s collection are not on view. The Mississippi Story, for example, displays close to 300 of the Museum’s artworks and artifacts, but another 5,000 are in...

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Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 by MMA

Lou Haney - 2014 MS Invitational Artist Statement

Lou Haney,

“My work focuses on desire and repulsion. I want to attract the viewer physically with shiny and delicious subject matter, but repel when the viewer starts to analyze the work. In a perfect world, the viewer reaction should be that the physical confronts the rational. I love it, but it is too much. These paintings are questioning taste, both literal and cultural. Where is the line between sweet and saccharin or high culture and kitsch? The work is concerned with scale. What happens when you take something that is pleasant at a small scale and enlarge it so it confronts you physically? I am exploring issues of texture, color, and pop culture. The paintings are bright, shiny, and over the top. My subject matter is inspired by the visual culture of how-to magazines and books. My palette is influenced by advertising and pop culture. The color borders on garish. It is over-saturated just like the palette of the source of the image. The background serves to repeat the colors or motifs of the subject. What I want to see is bright...

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Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 by MMA

Shawn Lee Dickey - 2014 MS Invitational Artist

”In my role as a visual artist, I am the director and producer of The Piedmont Sideshow, an ongoing body of work exploring themes ranging from power and isolation to voyeurism and spirituality. Each production is graced with a myriad of characters and props assembled on symbolic stages - expressed as three dimensional constructs reminiscent of early Christian altarpieces. In casting my productions, I choose characters found in an array of sources like obscure motion pictures, pre 1970’s how to books, old encyclopedias, and vintage ephemera. Their influence can be traced to my childhood growing up in Mississippi. Film, television, and books were the only cultural stimuli found in a small rural town. They became the primer for thought; fuel for imagination; and a window to the outside world. The Redemption Series explores a range of human themes - sin, love, struggle, and atonement through the representation of Johnny Cash. This concept, using Cash as a symbol, has been rattling around in my head for many years and finally had to be artistically exorcized. With this in mind, Cash, an American icon, became...

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Posted on Monday, November 17, 2014 by MMA

#VaultVantage - Elaine Galen

By Caitlin Podas, Registrar

Elaine Galen, Hellenic Source, 1989-1993. oil on canvas. Gift of the artist, 1997.089

Elaine Galen, Skysweep, 1991. oil on canvas. Gift of the artist,1997.088

My taste in art has changed significantly in the last couple of years. Actually, I can say that it has changed in the last couple of months since I’ve been working at the museum. Being exposed to so many different kinds of artwork, processes, mediums, and artists themselves has helped develop my interests. While I used to only care for Realism, I am now slightly obsessed with abstract paintings.

We have several abstracts in the collection, as well as abstractions.Yes, there is a difference. An abstract painting is one without a recognizable subject and does not try to look like something else. An abstraction, on the other hand, is a simplification of reality where the detail is eliminated but you can still see some degree of recognizable forms. I’m...

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Posted on Friday, November 14, 2014 by MMA

#ArtfulAfternoons #SocialPractice

By daniel johnson, Artist in Residence

Twice a month on Thursday afternoons, fourth and fifth grade students from Project Innovation in Midtown join with the Museum for Artful Afternoons, sponsored by The Walker Foundation. Artist in Residence daniel johnson and Director of School Programs Dorian Pridgen facilitate this group to use art as communication and a strategy for achieving goals. All of our young artists helped to define and choose projects for the year and we are in the midst of our first one – Write, Record and Release a song.

The process began with a simple question from one of our teaching rappers Jason Thompson aka Pyinfamous, “Why do y’all want to write a song – what is this song about?”

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Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 by MMA

Neil Callander - 2014 MS Invitational

“Narrative is an innate and inescapable fact in painting. In determining a painting’s meaning the viewer’s experience trumps the artist’s intention. I pack my paintings with cultural and personal references and work toward an image that is provocative yet narratively flexible. Working only from direct observation, more information is steadily added; the internal relationships get denser, tighter, and more intricate. The act of viewing my paintings is an unlocking of these internal relationships. Experiencing dense paintings that slowly reveal their nature can help us cope with the pervasiveness of fast talking, slick images.”

Learn more about the 2014 Mississippi Invitational.

Artwork credit line: Neil Callander, Dusty’s Table, 2012. Oil on linen on panel.

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Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 by MMA

Adrienne Callander - 2014 MS Invitational

“I balance concept and craft. I begin with an idea or impulse and then search for the right material and process to articulate it. I am not loyal to any discipline, yet often my investigations call on the fiber arts as a fitting mode to express my overlapping interests in history, memory, and the domestic realm. In Family Line, my father, my son, and I are represented in alternating rhythm. I quilted pieces from our three shirts and found that the trimmed edge formed a miniature clothesline, a prayer flag, a line of succession. When my father died in 2007, I kept his shirts in my closet. The material of those shirts is making its way into my practice. Dad’s Hawaiian Shirt is an attempt to find and preserve an essence. Family Tree references an entryway coat rack and stages of growth. Locally sourced fiber was milled, hand dyed, and hand knit.”

Learn more about the 2014 Mississippi Invitational.

Artwork credit line: Adrienne Callander, Dad’s Hawaiian Shirt, 2013....

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Posted on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 by MMA