Kenneth Austin Hood will present “Whole Pieces”, an exhibition of photographs, in the College of Architecture, Art, + Design Visual Arts Center on the Mississippi State University campus during the last full week in July.
As a part of his Bachelor of Fine Arts senior thesis presentation in the MSU Department of Art, Hood’s series of large color photographs on canvas depict found graffiti imagery discovered in Mississippi train yards. These form a part of an unseen “massive creation” according to the Columbus, MS born student artist, but each photograph, “is a sliver of the whole story”, one that also symbolizes his life’s problems “shattered into a million broken pieces.” Reports Hood; “I can pick them up cutting myself and at the same time feel them for the first time. They are then transformed, still remaining small and beautiful. As I play and create, they take on a life of their own; they have become “Whole Pieces”.
MSU Art professor Brent Funderburk says that Hood’s train graffiti photographs become, on the walls of a beautiful gallery space, “a place of their own. Kenneth’s life has been a challenging journey, one that has always sought a correspondence and a solution. So the group of various sized and shaped pieces form an imaginary place, ‘a better place’, as he says, filled with his beautiful shapes and colors.”
Kenneth Hood’s pilgrimage took him through a rehabilitation program where, waiting for “divine intervention” Hood said he uncovered the childhood memory of an image of a train- how it stood for a simpler time – which led him back to his youthful haunts- the trainyards in West Point, Tupelo, Jackson, Macon, Columbus and Maben, Mississippi.
The graffiti, a symbol for the carefree, unconventional aspects of making art, also reflects Hood’s respect for the unheralded painters who work under stealth of night, and the notion that they conjure treasure from what many consider trash. By placing these, recomposed, rescaled, and as abstracted fragments of color, in a salon/museum presentation, they are elevated, perhaps, to be considered as a Renaissance fresco might be. His thesis committee was directed by MSU Professor Marita Gootee, along with committee members Dominique Lippillo, and Brent Funderburk.
A public reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, July 28 from
5:30 to 6:30 PM in the CAAD Visual Arts Center at 808 University Drive
in Starkville, Mississippi. For more information contact the MSU
Department of Art (662-325-2970).
The exhibition, “Whole Pieces”, can be seen daily (Monday though Friday,
July 25th through July 29th, from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The exhibition
viewing and reception are free; refreshments will be served, and the
artist will be present.