Art student named StudyMississippi International Student of the Year

January 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Art student named StudyMississippi International Student of the Year

Katja Walter accepts her award at a ceremony in the Union on Jan. 25. (Photo by University Relations)

Katja Walter, the recipient of the 2012 StudyMississippi International Undergraduate Student of the Year award, was recognized for her achievement at an on-campus ceremony on Friday (Jan. 25).

Walter is in the graphic design program in the Department of Art at Mississippi State University and is from Wasserburg am Bodensee, Germany.

“There are many outstanding and amazing international students here in Mississippi,” said Walter. “It is really tough for an international student to be all by themselves here in a different country, with a different language and a different culture. There are so many opportunities offered, especially at MSU, that made me forget about being homesick, and I think other international students would agree. Being recognized for all my efforts here during my stay in the United States has been overwhelming. I feel honored, and I am still overwhelmed that I was the one chosen for the statewide award out of all the outstanding international students.”

In the future, Walter said she looks forward to her family coming to Starkville to see her graduate and realize her dream. She then hopes to pursue a graduate degree and employment in the United States.

The StudyMississippi International Student of the Year Award was introduced by the StudyMississippi Consortium to recognize one outstanding international undergraduate student and one graduate student in the state for their individual achievements and contributions to the state of Mississippi, the campus and the local community. The StudyMississippi Consortium, made up of 14 public and private senior and community colleges and some high schools, is a new education consortium working to make Mississippi a premier academic destination for international students.

Martin’s ‘Spiral’ takes Best in Show at Louisiana exhibit

January 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Martin’s ‘Spiral’ takes Best in Show at Louisiana exhibit

“Spiral” | Gregory Martin

Assistant Professor Gregory Martin’s painting “Spiral” was awarded Best in Show by juror Dr. Paul Manoguerra in the Louisiana Purchase Second National Biennial Juried Exhibition at the F. Jay Taylor Visual Arts Center Gallery at Louisiana Tech University in Rustin, La.

“Spiral” is one of several paintings by Martin included in the Louisiana Purchase exhibition, which runs from Jan. 15 through Feb. 18.

After a difficult deliberation, Manoguerra chose 49 artists to share their work in the exhibition.

“As juror for this exhibition, and given the types of art entered via the submission process, I elected to make use of the title and its reference to the early 19th-century land deal negotiated by Thomas Jefferson, and to focus on a single exhibition theme: landscape and the human presence within the landscape. Artists accepted for the biennial display made excellent, contemporary visual use of landscape imagery and environmental motifs: beauty, sublimity, history, maps, agriculture, flora, fauna, shelter and industry, among others. And, although the call for entries was open to all media, a majority of the works submitted were photographs. As such, photographs of landscapes and the human impact on landscapes compose a significant portion of Louisiana Purchase,” said Manogeurra, chief curator and curator of American art, who has worked at the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, since 2002.

Manogeurra also wrote One Hundred American Paintings, published in late 2010, which was recently named a 2011 Book of the Year Finalist in Art by ForeWard Reviews. It also won the Special Projects award from the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries. Manoguerra has served as curator for and developed more than fifty art exhibitions of various sizes. He also served as curator and author for Classic Ground: Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Painting and the Italian Encounter, an exhibition and book that examines American paintings, created as the result of Italian travels, within the context of U.S. social and cultural history. Classic Ground won the Award of Excellence for Exhibitions at the Southeastern Museums Conference in 2005 and the Mary Ellen LoPresti Art Publication Award of the Southeast Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America.

A packed house for Funderburk’s Walter Anderson lecture

January 28th, 2013 Comments Off on A packed house for Funderburk’s Walter Anderson lecture

Professor Brent Funderburk presents “Walter Anderson: A World Vision of Art and Nature.” (Photo by Beth Wynn | MSU University Relations)

The Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall was filled on Thursday (Jan. 24) for a lecture presented by Professor Brent Funderburk, “Walter Anderson: A World Vision of Art and Nature.”

Walter Anderson’s youngest son John, a friend of Funderburk, was present for the lecture, which was meant to introduce the MSU community to the works and life of the artist Walter Anderson.

John Anderson was also visiting the campus to work on discussions to establish a Walter Anderson Center at Mississippi State, which would make his father’s works accessible to not just the MSU community but to scholars, artists and others worldwide.

Funderburk, a professor in the Department of Art at MSU who has spent years researching and focusing his classes toward Walter Anderson, walked the audience through the artist’s life history and paintings.

Funderburk said Walter Anderson, throughout his life, was searching for the answer of “What is art and my place in it?”

After a lifelong struggle to find the meaning – from art training in Philadelphia, Penn., New York and Europe, to a battle with depression that nearly killed him – Funderburk believes Anderson found his meaning of art. Along the way, Anderson discovered that when two different languages meet, they produce a third thing, a miracle, and he believed art could be that miracle.

Walter Anderson took some early advice from his mother to heart – to not show his work until he went as far as he can. After his death from lung cancer in 1962, Anderson’s family uncovered a mural, hidden in his cottage in Ocean Springs, Miss. In the cottage was also a wooden box that contained 85 log accounts of Anderson’s journey to discover the meaning of art and 2,000 neatly stacked watercolors.

“The box has been opened,” said Funderburk. “I believe with all of my heart that nothing could stop him and that they were meant to be seen.”

John Anderson (back, right), Walter Anderson’s youngest son, attended the lecture.

Art community enjoys New Associations exhibit

January 25th, 2013 Comments Off on Art community enjoys New Associations exhibit

The reception for New Associations: Works by New Faculty in the Department of Art – Adrienne Callander, Neil Callander, Gregory Martin and Suzanne Powney was held Thursday night (Jan. 24) in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall.  The exhibit will stay open through Feb. 23.

Department Head of Art, Lydia Thompson (left) with the new faculty in the Department of Art at the reception for New Associations. (left to right) Suzanne Powney, Gregory Martin, Adrienne Callander and Neil Callander (photo by Megan Bean | MSU University Relations)

Runnels paper published in The International Journal of the Book

January 23rd, 2013 Comments Off on Runnels paper published in The International Journal of the Book

Jamie Runnels, professor in the Department of Art, recently had a paper, “Medium Superior to Message: Is there a Medium/Form Bias in the Book Arts Community,” published in The International Journal of the Book, Volume 9, Issue 4.

Abstract: Since the concept came into being, society has had different ideas about what constitutes art. Some feel it is the medium that defines a legitimate art form and constitutes value, but this has raised debates over which mediums are considered valuable. Consequently there have been debates over the differentiation between fine arts (or high arts) and crafts. Likewise, varying production methods or intents within a single medium can spark debate about value and legitimacy. Each culture, generation, and practitioner has a perception of what mediums or forms are considered part of the art canon. Does the book art community also harbor ideas about value and legitimacy within its form? Is the codex more valuable than the accordion? Is a letterpress work more important than laser print work? This paper shares results from a survey of binders, curators and collectors from the U.S. to see if they do have biases towards certain book art mediums, production and binding methods: in book arts, is medium superior to message?

New faculty hold panel to share about their work

January 17th, 2013 Comments Off on New faculty hold panel to share about their work


On January 16, the four new faculty members in the Department of Art participated in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Ben Harvey. Adrienne Callander, Neil Callander, Gregory Martin and Suzanne Powney each briefly discussed their work before the floor was opened up for questions. According to Lori Neuenfeldt, programs coordinator for the Visual Arts Center Gallery, the panel was set up as a way for students and current faculty to meet the new faculty and learn about their work.

Harvey said he has had a chance to view his new colleagues’ work in the gallery in McComas Hall, which will be up until February 23.

“We are lucky to have this kind of talent in Starkville,” he said, before introducing the first new faculty member, Adrienne Callander.

Adrienne Callander
Callander holds a Master of Fine Arts from Rutgers University and is the Department of Art’s most recent hire as a lecturer in 2D Design and Art Appreciation. She described her current body of work, “Ball Series,” to involve a conversation with the people she receives the materials from.

“I remember how it all began,” she said. She first got the idea for this while in graduate school at Rutgers. When observing a painting of a sweater, she thought about how it was really a 3D drawing and, “in theory, you should be able to deconstruct it,” she said.

Now, 21 deconstructed sweaters later, Callander joked, “If you bring me a sweater, I’ll add it.”

Callander even deconstructed a friend’s entire sea foam halter wedding dress.

“That was complicated because this was something of great value to her; I didn’t want to disappoint her,” she said. “The piece itself is an action. I received the dress. I altered it, and I’m going to send it back to her.”

Other pieces in Callander’s “Ball Series” include a piece that honors her father, who passed away in 2007, and a piece she explained to be her conversation with painting ­– her mother was a painter, and she is married to a painter.

Neil Callander
Next, Callander’s “painter” husband, Neil Callander, was introduced. Neil Callander also holds an MFA from Rutgers University and is the Foundations Coordinator for the Department of Art. His current body of work revolves around a fictional character, “Dusty,” as imagined by his now-six-year-old son when he was two.

The paintings are done from direct observation in his studio. Neil Callander said he is unapologetically still life painting.

He said if you remove the cliché fruits and vases from still life and think about “what’s possible when you set up anything in the world and freeze it, I don’t see it as boring at all but full of potential.”

Neil Callander tries to set up items in the studio quickly, so they look like they are pulled from someone’s life.

“They exist naturally in the world of Dusty, and I recreate them in the studio.”

The artist described his paintings to be like “choose-your-own-adventure books” in that “you can go back to them, and they constantly reveal themselves in different ways.” He showed a zoomed-in image of one of his paintings to further illustrate this thought, and explained that perceptions may change based on one’s mood, the time of day and/or the lighting.

Neil Callander ended his lecture by telling about how a colleague once reacted to one of his paintings by telling him it made her want to throw up.

“I took it as one of the best compliments that I could imagine – that a painting could have that sort of reaction!”

Gregory Martin
Gregory Martin said Neil Callander’s work hasn’t had that kind of reaction, yet, for him.

“But I’ll give it a chance and see how it goes,” he joked.

Martin, who was born and raised in southern California, recently drove 2,000 miles from Venice, Calif., to start a position as assistant professor of Drawing and Design at MSU. He holds an MFA from Claremont Graduate School.

“The disconnect and relationship between people’s ideals and the reality they live” is a major theme in his work.

Martin described some more of the influences place has had on his work and encouraged everyone to go to the gallery to see the work. He said artists often have a hard time in the spotlight, talking about their work.

“We sort of want the attention to be on that neat thing we made,” he laughed.

Martin said he was attracted to MSU by the fairly large pool of faculty doing good work, and he hopes to build on that while he is here.

Suzanne Powney
Suzanne Powney has been a graphic designer since 1995 but said she discovered the world of letterpress when she got frustrated with the lack of texture in graphic design.

“It has become a part of me; it feeds my soul,” the professor of Letterpress, Graphic Design and Advertising with an MFA from the University of Houston said.

Powney’s work in the exhibit includes three books resting on tables that float. She said she wanted to create an intimate space where visitors could engage with the work on a very intimate level. In fact, all Powney’s books are meant to be touched, and she hopes visitors will interact with them.

“Poke” consists of a series of circles. Powney said people are supposed to use a stylus to poke through to see where the paper gives, and eventually words will emerge from the pattern.

“Stroke” is a series of words and graphics, “thousands of dots referring to thousands of neurons – how we physically observe the idea of touch.”

Powney said “Trace” requires interaction to find what the message is.

The overall theme in her work is “how touch is important to who we are as humans.”

“I’m hoping this feeds you with some thoughts,” she said.

Questions
Harvey and the audience next had a chance to ask the artists several questions about their work and connections between their work.

The artists will all be present at the opening reception of the exhibit, New Associations, on Jan. 24 from 5:30–7:30 in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall, to answer more questions.

Recent art grad selected as runner up in art journal

January 16th, 2013 Comments Off on Recent art grad selected as runner up in art journal

Anna Katherine Phipps | “Homophony” | Acrylic & latex | 40 W 25.5 H

Anna Katherine Phipps, a December 2012 graduate from the Department of Art, was selected as “Runner Up” in the Fine Arts category of Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art and Design (Issue 30).

Her submission, “Homophony,” was completed under the instruction of Professor Brent Funderburk for her thesis body of work.

According to the national magazine, “Runner Up” entries receive a majority of votes by the judges. Phipps’ work will be reproduced in the online gallery when the coinciding issue of CQ30 publishes this spring.

See the complete list of winners. (Phipps is listed under runner-up | fine art: student)

Funderburk to present Walter Anderson lecture

January 15th, 2013 Comments Off on Funderburk to present Walter Anderson lecture

“Walter Anderson: A World Vision of Art and Nature”
An illustrated lecture by Professor Brent Funderburk
3:30 p.m., Jan. 24, 2013
Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium, Giles Hall

Brent Funderburk, a faculty member in Art at Mississippi State University since 1982, has pursued Walter Inglis Anderson through lecturing about him, curating exhibitions of his artwork and dedicating courses to his vision for 30 years.

Funderburk’s lectures and exhibitions have taken him to many universities and museums, while his MSU classes – “Encounters,” “Sea- Earth- Sky” and various watercolor courses – have taken art and natural science students into the world of New Orleans-born/Mississippi-based Anderson. In order to better realize the renaissance perspective of Anderson’s philosophy and to help develop their own, Funderburk and his students dove into Anderson’s works – from Horn Island in the Gulf of Mexico, to nature’s forms, close and far.

Funderburk’s talk “Walter Anderson: A World Vision of Art and Nature” will present the lifelong, creative investment of the artist, naturalist and writer Anderson. Funderburk will discuss why and how Anderson created thousands of images – some purposefully reproducible for the identity of the greater local world and community – and others more carefully crafted, selected and hidden from view. The images revealed show a plan to replenish a culture bent on nuclear destruction, and those hidden might offer cross-millennial (and cross-cultural) “inside” communication from artist/sage to artist/sage, as vanguards in the movement.

Walter Anderson’s two bodies of work, one “tribal” and one “virtuosic,” report  a one-man campaign to save mankind (as well as himself!) and his natural environment through the power of art.

Did Anderson succeed in his world transforming plan? Funderburk believes that he did, and will attempt to prove it though a guided trek through hundreds of Anderson’s jewel-like watercolors, lightning lined drawings and myriad decorative objects.

Photography student takes third place in international competition

January 15th, 2013 Comments Off on Photography student takes third place in international competition

Self-Portrait | Whitten Sabbatini

Whitten Sabbatini’s  photo “October 12, 2012” was selected by juror Thomas Werner as the third prize winner in the fall 2012 New York Center for Photographic Art International Call for Entry, PEOPLE, Category Together.

Close to 1,000 images were submitted to the international competition.

View the online gallery.

Peter Bain gets involved with DesignInquiry

January 11th, 2013 Comments Off on Peter Bain gets involved with DesignInquiry


Peter Bain, professor in the Department of Art, participated this summer in DesignInquiry 2012 “FastForward” in Vinalhaven, Maine.

According to the website, DesignInquiry is a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in intensive team-based gatherings. An alternative to the design conference, it brings together practitioners from disparate fields to generate new work and ideas around a single topic.

Bain can be seen in the video about the workshop. Watch the video now.

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