Fall artists-in-residence connect with nature, local communities

December 1st, 2014 Comments Off on Fall artists-in-residence connect with nature, local communities

Caetlynn Booth painting

Caetlynn Booth painting

Artist talk at 929 (photo by Lori Neuenfeldt)

Artist talk at 929 (photo by Lori Neuenfeldt)

Tyson Washburn 2014

Tyson Washburn 2014

Whitfield Studies 2 by Diana Lyon

Whitfield Studies 2 by Diana Lyon

Whitfield studies 1 by Diana Lyon

Whitfield studies 1 by Diana Lyon

By Lori Neuenfeldt

This past fall the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and MSU Artist-in-Residence program hosted three visiting artists who found ways to connect to nature and the communities in Noxubee and Oktibbeha Counties.

From October 20th through the 31st, Caetlynn Booth (painter) and Tyson Washburn (photographer) lived out at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge.

New York artist Booth’s work has exhibited nationally and internationally in New York, San Francisco, Paris and Berlin. Her work addresses where the human spirit and the spirit of place meet and investigates how rendering these points of connection in paint can activate the medium’s capacity for representing the spiritual.

Washburn is an artist and professor of photography based in New York City. HIs work deals with the landscape in both urban and rural areas. His compositions tune into the specificity of a location through observation, documenting the nature of the location with traces of human intervention.

On October 29, the New York artists invited the public to join them on a walk at the refuge. Participants were asked to bring a camera or drawing materials and join the conversation as the artists explored the landscape, including flora and fauna, as subjects. Refuge staff in attendance helped guide the walk along one of the most scenic trails, stopping along the way to photograph and draw.

On October 30 at 929 Coffee House in downtown Starkville, the artists spoke to a crowd of 20 about their collaborative research during their residency at the refuge. They discussed concepts and techniques and answered questions about their inspirations. The highlight of the evening came when both artists revealed works-in-progress they had created that captured their experiences at the refuge.

Booth and Washburn also spent time meeting MSU BFA Fine Art students in the senior research class. They spoke about their own experiences creating a body of work for exhibition and applying for graduate programs to receive a Masters in Fine Art.

From November 4th through the 22nd, the refuge welcomed watercolor painter Robin Whitfield. Whitfield is a Mississippi native currently living in Grenada and acting as artist-in-residence for ArtPlace Mississippi Inc. in Greenwood. She specializes in outdoor nature scenes and natural pigments on paper.

On November 24, a group of 21 members from the community and refuge staff met up with Whitfield at the artist-in-residence cabin, called “The Ibis,” located in the refuge on the shore of Bluff Lake. This was the first time the public has ever been invited to see the house and view the working space of the artist within. Whitfield treated visitors to a impromptu display of her watercolor works and natural pigment collection made during her residency. After the artwork display, the artist and refuge staff took visitors out to collect their own natural pigments – colors made from soil, dirt, bark and leaves from the refuge.

All three artists produced work inspired by nature. Their work is a creative record of the cypress trees, lakes, woodpecker dwellings and leaf patterns distinct to Northeast Mississippi. One year from now, each artist will donate a piece to the refuge that communicates their own personal experience as artists-in-residence at the refuge.

All artist-in-residence programs are free and made possible by the Sam. D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of the Refuge, MSU Department of Art and the Starkville Area Arts Council.

For more information contact Lori Neuenfeldt, lneuenfeldt@caad.msstate.edu.

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