Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mississippi State University Art Department Faculty Exhibition

Lots going on in Starkville today and this weekend. Unfortunately, I could not attend everything. Missed the Othello production being put on by the American Shakespeare Company at Lee Hall. This was part of the MSU Lyceum Series, which always brings in amazing production be it dance, theater, musical, or otherwise.

Beginning tonight and running through Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night is the Magnolia Independent Film Festival hosted at Hollywood Premiere Cinemas here in Starkville. This is a really cool deal if you enjoy seeing independent films. I do. I basically find mainstream movies to be about as interesting as mainstream music, and that is not saying a lot. The only thing that I enjoy from a typical box office movie is action and cool special effects. Not saying those two things don't have merit, but wouldn't it be nice if just now and then the big studios actually produced a movie that was original? Ok, maybe once in a while, but its rare. However, these independent film festivals showcase a wide variety of films of varying lengths. I don't like all of them, but do appreciate their uniqueness. Go if you can. Some of the movies are directed by locals, and some are by folks from all over the world. In fact, some of these movies will be later premiered at larger film festivals such as the one at Sundance. You can read more about the festival at

Also happening this evening was the opening of the Mississippi State University Art Department Faculty Exhibition at the Visual Arts Center on University Drive. Our university has a pretty decent art department that has grown considerably over the last 30 years. Many of the faculty, such as Brent Funderbunk and Alex Bostic have achieved international notoriety. Others are equally talented. Joseph and I stopped by for an a hour or so to check it out.

As we were pulling in, so was Chad "the mad dog drummer" Anderson was also pulling in. Chad teaches web design, is a professional jazz drummer, and his drawings are amazing! This joker should be teaching drawing!

Well, the show was pretty small actually, and not all of the faculty appeared to have stuff in it. But, the pieces that were there were all pretty solid. Of course, Brent had one of his vibrant, heavily saturated watercolor pieces. Alex had two small oil portraits done in an interesting style. Soon Eh had two nice little ballpoint pen drawings that looked like they had been done in pencil. Of course, Robert Long had two very elegant ceramic pieces.

One of the newest faculty members, Jake Weigel, showed us a small part of a larger scale installation that he had done in Memphis. It was called Black Holes I believe. Joseph, who has already done one installation, was particularly interested in this. 

Jake Weigel
And, well, everything showed the fact that these instructors are more than qualified to teach. But, for me, Chad and Greg Martin stole the show!

Chad, who does not even teach drawing, had two of his emotive portraits of musicians in the show. One thing that made them stand out even more for me was the fact that when he does these portraits of musicians, he does them all in different styles. He finds a style that suits the individual musician's style of playing. Now that is freakin' cool. Plus, these drawings are SPECTACULAR! Of note, and like me, Chad also went to Starkville High School back in the day under the tutelage of Nelle Elam. Ah, the days of creative freedom at SHS! Incidentally, Nelle was at the show tonight. She does not appear to have aged in the last 30 years!

Professors hanging out listening to a brief gallery talk by new faculty member Jake Weigel.
Notice the portrait on the left wall by Chad Anderson
As I mentioned, Greg Martin also had a very nice piece, a large painting. This crazy music loving joker arrived at MSU from Los Angeles, and we got a good one with him. This particular painting used some iconic references well known to Mississippi. Really liked this. 

Greg Martin's painting!
Photo credit: Kamau Bostic. 
Of course, we saw quite a few people we knew. Our newest grad student in our Mississippi Entomological Museum, Sandra Schachat, stopped by for the show. Although Sandra is working on a Master's degree in entomology, she also has a degree in art history. So, obviously, she appreciates art. And, she fits right in because she not only dresses like an artist, but she is weird.

Sandra (not wanting me to take her photo) and Greg Martin

It was also good to see Caroline Cooper again. Caroline is the academics records person for the art department. Incidentally, Sandra, Greg, and Caroline were all at the Delfest last weekend! Similar tastes? Caroline, who for some reason, I did not immediately recognize at the Delfest, was some kind of awesome dancer! Girl has some moves!

Caroline Cooper!
If you missed the opening, so not despair, as the exhibition will be up until March 29th. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Friday, 10 AM - 4 PM and Saturday from 2-4 PM. 

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