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: 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: 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: 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: 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.