New faculty to hold exhibit in McComas Hall

December 20th, 2012 Comments Off on New faculty to hold exhibit in McComas Hall

New Associations: Works by New Faculty in the Department of Art – Adrienne Callander, Neil Callander, Gregory Martin and Suzanne Powney

January 8–February 23, 2013 – Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall

By Lori Neuenfeldt
Programs Coordinator for the Visual Arts Center Gallery and Outreach Programs
New relationships, new interactions and new connections all occur when an artist moves from one location to another. New Associations is an exhibition of four artists who recently moved to Starkville to become new faculty members in the Mississippi State University’s Department of Art in the College of Architecture, Art and Design. Adrienne Callander, Neil Callander, Gregory Martin and Suzanne Powney all hail from different regions across the United States and bring with them different influences and educational backgrounds. These experiences are in turn shared in a new environment that also offers new opportunities and collaborations.

The variety of each artists’ backgrounds and interests are most directly seen in the different media each artist works:

Adrienne Callander, Painting, 2012. Oil on canvas, 7″ round. (photo by Megan Bean | MSU University Relations)

Adrienne Callander: Lecturer – 2D Design & Art Appreciation

Adrienne Callander is the Department of Art’s most recent hire as a Lecturer in 2D Design & Art Appreciation. Her current project is Ball Series. In 2012, Callander sent out a request to friends from around the world for old, worn sweaters. For 26 sweaters, Callander played with ripping, unwinding and re-winding the sweaters she received, finally creating balls of yarn, each representing an individual and its original owner. Another piece in the Ball Series, titled “Painting,” is made of strips of canvas ripped from fellow artist Ronna Lebo’s painting. According to Callander, “The ball series presents material identities restructured as line, embedded with markers of what was and still is. Each object had a preexisting purpose, an application. That purpose has been thwarted so that an implication of material history and a formal narrative are all that remain.”

Adrienne Callander graduated with a BA from Reed College in Portland, Ore., a Post-Baccalaureate from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Callander’s work has recently exhibited in group shows at the Huff Gallery in Louisville, Ky., and the Meridian Museum of Art in Mississippi. On relocating to Starkville, Callander states, “Relocating to Mississippi State University has enhanced my interest in the mechanics of existence and the variety of its expression. Gentility and fortitude, history and progress, high heels and football – there is a mix here in Mississippi that I am beginning to glimpse and want to fully grasp.”

Neil Callander, Dusty’s Table, 2011. Oil on linen on panel, 38” x 38”.

Neil Callander: Foundations Coordinator/Assistant Professor – Drawing, Painting & Design

Neil Callander’s hometown is Louisville, Ky., where he also taught painting and drawing at the University of Louisville and Indiana University Southeast. Neil’s paintings are enlarged still-lifes based on close observation. They are vibrant in color, busy and full of recognizable objects of Americana. According to Neil, “The power of my painted setups lies in the narrative. . . Since 2010 I have been slowly developing a fictional character named Dusty. His personality and history are taking shape as the narrative implied in my paintings unfolds. . . Since moving to Starkville in August of 2012, I have begun to see the flat agricultural landscape of this region much like I do a tabletop in my studio. The farm equipment, silos, water towers, cars and old houses are objects in a still life. I plan on complicating the life of Dusty through exploring the peculiarities of central Mississippi.”

Callander received his BFA from Indiana University and his MFA from The Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University. His work has shown in the 2011 WaterTower Regional in Louisville, the 2011 Paint Snob Invitational in Waco, Texas, and First Look at the NJ Center for Contemporary Art. Recently, Callander had solo exhibitions at the Kentucky School of Art in Louisville, Goose Barnacle Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and he took first place for his paintings from a jury at Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Gregory Martin, Spirit, 2009. Oil on canvas, 72′ x 96″.

Gregory Martin: Assistant Professor – Drawing & Design

Destination and space are important in the works of Gregory Martin. Martin recently drove 2,000 miles from Venice, Calif., to start a position as assistant professor of art at MSU. Martin, who is primarily a painter but also works as a sculptor, states “As my work as an artist has always been influenced by my surroundings, I am taking in the new region and finding a lot of interesting aspects of being here.” Martin describes his paintings as “contemplative spaces in which to experience dualities and polarities within human nature, the natural world and the practice of painting.”

Gregory Martin was born in San Diego, Calif. He received a BFA in illustration from CSU Long Beach and his MFA in Painting from Claremont Graduate School. Martin was a visiting lecturer at Otis College of Art & Design, USC Roski School of Fine Art, and U.C. San Diego Visual Arts. In 2012, Martin’s recent paintings exhibited in the Vault Gallery at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, Calif.

Suzanne Powney, Press Poke: Artist Book, 2012. Laser cut, 100% Cotton paper.

Suzanne Powney: Assistant Professor – Letter Press, Graphic Design & Advertising

Suzanne Powney, a letterpress printer and graphic designer from Houston, Texas, explores surfaces using handmade books to allow touch and promote interactivity with art without the question “Can I touch this?” She calls this experience “Tactile typography.” The narrative in book form and the tactile qualities of paper with impressed type combine as an integral component to her work. Powney’s recent work includes a series of investigations that encourage people to touch. Often letterpress books are considered too handcrafted and delicate to touch, that the handler should wear gloves, but with her latest work the artist hopes that the traces of peoples’ fingerprints and their interaction will aid in revealing the message of the work.

Suzanne Powney graduated with her MFA from the University of Houston. Her works have exhibited as part of a group show at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum in 2011. Powney has been a member of the Museum of Printing History Printers Guild and the American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA) of Houston. Currently she is the letterpress printer and operator for BlackDog Letterpress.

New Associations opens in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall on Jan. 8, 2013 and runs until Feb. 23, 2013. Events to accompany the exhibit include a New Faculty Panel hosted by the Department of Art in Giles Hall, Harrison Auditorium on Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. The panel will be an open discussion between the four new art faculty and members of the audience, which will include MSU students, faculty and members of the Starkville community. The four artists will talk about their work and how moving to a new environment is a strong influence on their artistic inspiration. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

On Jan. 24 from 5:30–7:30 p.m.,  will be a public reception at the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall, where the artists will be present to talk about their work. The reception is also free and open to all.

This exhibition and its programming are made possible by the MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design – Department of Art.

Art student selected for international photography exhibition

December 12th, 2012 Comments Off on Art student selected for international photography exhibition

Whitten Sabbatini | Jeffrey and Jr. Skinning a Deer

Mississippi State University Department of Art student Whitten Sabbatini has had two photographs accepted into Portraits 2013 at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colo. The juror, Charles Guice, selected 57 images from 44 artists from seven countries.

Guice is the founder and director of Charles Guice Contemporary in New York City. His gallery features modern and contemporary art, film/video and new media by nationally and internationally recognized visual artists. Recognized for introducing and nurturing new talent as well as for advancing more established artists, Guice has been instrumental in the careers of several of today’s leading contemporary artists, including Erika Diettes, Birthe Piontek, Hank Willis Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems.

Sabbatini, a senior photography student, will be exhibiting two images from his current body of work. Tim’s House and Jeffrey and Jr. Skinning a Deer are both digital images that explore ordinary life around Starkville, Miss. Sabbatini is the only photographer from Mississippi to be accepted into the exhibition.

“Two images accepted into an international exhibition is fantastic,” said Professor Marita Gootee, the coordinator for photography in the Department of Art. “To be selected by a juror such as Charles Guice is extremely impressive and could really open doors for Whitten. Whitten was born a photographer. As a photography professor, the goal is to nurture and focus his raw talent, so he can be successful. It is totally Whitten’s vision that makes his work so provoking.”

Sabbatini has also recently received a travel scholarship from the Society for Photographic Education to attend the national conference in Chicago in 2013 and had work selected for two exhibitions.

“It is a privilege to work with a student so talented and excited about the medium of photography and the work he is making. I have no doubt that he is going places,” said Assistant Professor Dominic Lippillo.

Portraits 2013 is currently on display in The Center for Fine Art Photography online gallery, and the printed photographs will be exhibited at The Center for Fine Art Photography gallery from Feb. 15 – March 23, 2013. A public reception will be held on March 1 from 6 – 9 p.m.

The Center’s gallery is located 400 North College Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80524. For more information contact the Mississippi State University Department of Art at 662-325-2970.

Lydia Thompson, Mississippi artists showcased in Ohr exhibits

December 10th, 2012 Comments Off on Lydia Thompson, Mississippi artists showcased in Ohr exhibits

Lydia Thompson in her studio.


Three Mississippi artists, past and present, and their works are represented in new exhibitions at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, 386 Beach Blvd., Biloxi.

The Ohr’s hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Dusti Bongé: ‘Revisiting the Legacy’; IP Casino Resort Spa Exhibitions Gallery; Through June 8

Eunice Lyle “Dusti” Swetman Bongé (1903-1993), was active from the 1930s to the early 1990s. Throughout her painting career she lived and worked in Biloxi. Her work was represented by Betty Parsons for more than 35 years, first at the Mortimer Brandt Gallery and then the Betty Parsons Gallery. Bongé was a contemporary of Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

The exhibition recognizes Bongé for her innovative and groundbreaking paintings of the 1950s.

In her last 25 years as an active artist, Bongé continued to explore innovative techniques.

When she was in her 80s, she completed the last of her large oil paintings and began working in watercolor on Joss paper, small squares of bamboo or rice paper used in Asian rituals for the dead. Although she created a large body of these works on Joss paper, only several hundred survived.

This exhibition is funded by IP Casino Resort Spa and R&B Feder Charitable Foundation for the Beaux-Arts.

Lydia Thompson: ‘Roots, Connections and Pathways’; Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Gallery/Gallery of African American Art; Dec. 11 through June 1

Lydia Thompson is the department head and an associate professor in the department of art at Mississippi State University. Her ceramics have been included in collections, galleries, art centers and museums around the world.

In addition to ceramic sculpture, she explores the paradox of the cotton boll — its attractiveness as a natural form and its repugnance as a symbol of a history of exploitation — in a series of diverse works in various media. Her current research investigates a variety of geographic landscapes and how natural resources affect culture and social practices in surrounding communities. Thompson’s work is a reminder of the physical process of reduction made by nature; animals and human beings create pathways that define migration patterns.

This exhibition is funded in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Terry Tjader: ‘Ingrained in Wood’; Mississippi Sound Welcome Center; Through June 1

Terry Tjader of Petal frequently uses wood from trees damaged in Hurricane Katrina to create an entire collection of sculptures and vessels, a reflection of his interest in repurposing materials. Through his woodworking, he has been able to create something new and beautiful from the immense destruction left behind by the storm and from other historic trees in the Gulf South area. Tjader’s goal is to preserve trees as objects that evoke a sense of enchantment and wonder at the beauty of wood.

This exhibition is funded in part by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photography student in national exhibition

December 5th, 2012 Comments Off on Photography student in national exhibition

Whitten Sabbatini, Tim’s 2012

Whitten Sabbatini, a photography major in the Department of Art, was recently accepted into the national exhibition, Picture This, What We Photograph, at the Mpls Photo Center in Minneapolis, Minn. The exhibition will run Jan. 18 through March 2, 2013, with an 
opening reception on Jan. 18.

Sabbatini’s work, titled Tim’s, is a color digital image of a current project where is he is photographing strangers. The photo was one of just 75 chosen out of more than 1200 submissions, and this is his first exhibition outside of the collegiate level.

“I am not surprised that Whitten’s work was accepted into this exhibition,” said Professor Marita Gootee. “His images are an honest reflection of the world around us. They are the everyday in a single moment. They are a reminder that we all are human.”

The juror for the exhibition was Cig Harvey, assistant professor of photography at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. Harvey’s photographs have been exhibited in permanent collections of major museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York.

“Ultimately, I was looking for work that felt authentic and original,” said Harvey. “I gravitated toward images that embraced the formal concerns of photography – frame, light, color etc to its highest levels – to elevate the conceptual and narrative content of the picture. The resulting group of final images, which make up the Picture This exhibition, strongly demonstrate a command of the craft of photography and firmly point to the medium’s story telling capacities. I am honored and humbled to have been given this daunting task and wholly thank all the applicants and wish to congratulate those selected.”

“The authenticity and originality of Whitten’s work can be seen in the sincerity he puts into each image. Whitten’s imagery is a photographic survey of the region in which he resides. His work aims to honestly represent the people and places that are normally overlooked in our culture. By using photography, he is bringing an awareness to the viewer and a sense of importance to the people and places depicted in his photographs,” said Assistant Professor Dominic Lippillo.

“This might be Whitten’s first non-collegiate exhibition, but I expect it will not be his last,” said Gootee. “Whitten lives to capture these moments and to have others see what he sees. His camera is his voice. I know we will hear a lot more from him … this is only the start of his career.”

For more information contact the Department of Art at 662-325-2970.

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