Richard A. Lou presents lecture about work, artists as ‘citizen diplomats’

March 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Richard A. Lou presents lecture about work, artists as ‘citizen diplomats’

Richard A. Lou presented a lecture on March 7 before the reception for his Stories on My Back exhibition.

Lou discussed themes that are found in his work, such as questioning his identity and questioning photographs’ claim to reality through storytelling. He also discussed the idea of collaboration and how artists often serve as “citizen diplomats.”

Lou, who is half Chinese and half Mexican, discussed how he questioned his identity growing up and how he would cross the border from Mexico to the United States for school every day with his father from age six until age nine.

Many of Lou’s works, including his current exhibit at MSU, are site-specific. “The Border Door – 1988” is work that Lou did along the U.S./Mexican border. For the work, the artist created a door and handed out keys for people to use his border door.

Another series, “Border Sutures,” involved a group of artists crossing the border in various locations and installing steel “staples” to ‘put the nations back together.’

For “Headlines – 1992,” Lou shaved his head once a month and invited different artists of color to create text or drawings on his head. The images would last 7-10 days, thanks to Lou’s sleeping on his stomach and wearing a bathing cap for showers. The artist said he wanted to “not be able to divorce myself from my work,” and he definitely got his wish. The artwork on his head was with him at the grocery store, when he picked his children up from school and wherever he went. Lou said people often stereotyped him and were scared of him until they started a conversation and learned about his project. The artist plans to start this project again soon for the 21st anniversary.

Lou wrapped up the lecture by again referring to the idea of artists as “citizen diplomats.” He said he enjoys what he does because his work is important to his conscience and represents issues that are important to him.

Watch some video from the lecture:
Video 1 (Lou discusses some of his early border projects.)
Video 2 (Lou discusses his “Headlines” project, where he invited artists to create works of art on his head.)
Video 3 (Lou discusses how he used humor for a project that served as a way to discuss who has the power to define culture.)

Reception held for Richard A. Lou exhibit

March 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Reception held for Richard A. Lou exhibit

A reception was held at the Visual Arts Center Gallery on March 7 for Richard A. Lou’s Stories on My Back.

Read more about Lou’s exhibit and site-specific installation.

Stories On My Back will be on display until March 23, 2013 at the Visual Arts Center (VAC) Gallery, 808 University Drive, Starkville.

Department of Art holds reception for student juried exhibition

March 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Department of Art holds reception for student juried exhibition

Artist Richard A. Lou, one of the jurors for the exhibit, congratulates all the students and tells them the quality of their work made his job tough.

A reception for the 41st MSU Student Juried Exhibition was held on March 7 in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall. The presentation of awards honored winners in the Fine Art and Graphic Design competitions.

This year, 105 works were selected consisting of sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media, graphic design, typography and package designs. Over $2000 dollars in prize and purchase awards were given out.

The work was selected for the exhibit by two jurors outside of the university. Richard A. Lou is a photography professor and chair of the Department of Art at the University of Memphis, and Doug Barrett is an assistant professor of graphic design at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The show will remain up until March 28. Gallery hours in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All galleries are closed during school holidays.

Congratulations to the following winners:
• 1st Place in Fine Arts category – Shelby Nichols for Scanography: Ecuadorian Tropics
• 2nd Place in Fine Arts category – Trey Hardin for Clarence
• 3rd Place in Fine Arts category – Dominique Belcher for Colorful Soul
• Honorable Mention in Fine Art – Angela Latham for Nestled Tea Pot
Starkville Area Arts Council Award ($100) – Nicole Beck for Fantasy and Reality
• 1st place in Graphic Design – Sweta Desai for “We Click – Self Promotion”
• 2nd Place in Graphic Design – Ashley Bennett for “Stay Foxy, Self Promo”
• 3rd Place in Graphic Design – Margaret La Foe for “Cured! Pork Products Packaging”
• Graphic Design Juror’s Award ($100) – Bethany Johnson for “Letter Press Business card”
RGH Paint Award to Regan Watts
Mount Vision Pastel Award to Anthony Lowe for “Plugs”
• Potter’s Wheel Award to April Shelby
Bill Dunlap Purchase Prize – Angela Latham for Nestled Tea Pot
• Bill Dunlap Purchase Prize – Jacob Craig for Untitled
• Bill Dunlap Purchase Prize – Sarah Kilpatrick for Tea Bowl

Artist Richard A. Lou works on exhibit installation

January 8th, 2013 Comments Off on Artist Richard A. Lou works on exhibit installation

Artist Richard A. Lou works on the installation of his exhibit at the Department of Art’s woodshop in Howell Building. Lou’s exhibition is site-specific, meaning it is different every time it is installed, having to fit in a new space with different dimensions.

By Lori Neuenfeldt, Programs Coordinator for the Visual Arts Center Gallery and Outreach Programs

The Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design and the Department of Art is proud to bring the work of artist Richard A. Lou to the MSU Visual Arts Center (VAC) Gallery on University Drive.

Stories on My Back is a three-dimensional, multi-media installation that combines photography, found object and sound. With his work, Lou questions and initiates discussions about race and celebrates the multicultural background that the world shares. To do this, Lou oftentimes references his own Chinese and Hispanic heritage as a visual way to introduce the viewer to ideas of cultural identity. Lou constructs spaces that are meant to evoke ceremonial places where familial stories of loss, migration, assimilation, power, and love are told and shared. The artist uses the power of storytelling as a means to connect with visitors. As audience members walk through the installations they hear recorded stories of tales passed down from the artist’s own family, spanning four generations.

In an interview with Guisela Latorre for an article in the 2012 American Studies Journal, Border Consciousness and Artivist Aesthetics: Richard Lou’s Performance and Multimedia Artwork, Lou said, “I always talk about stories. I come from that background. My father was a wonderful storyteller, and my mother is a wonderful storyteller. In actuality that is how I entered into the visual arts, it was from writing because I was interested in writing before I became interested in the visual arts.”

Text and word are both important to Lou’s work. Images of Lou’s family are throughout the installation of Stories on My Back. One of the images, titled Magda, is Lou’s daughter juggling small stones, each imprinted with a single word – “Chinese,” “the,” “grind,” “would” and “Pebbles.”  These stones reference the story of Lou’s father who practiced speaking English with pebbles in his mouth. Another visual reference to Lou’s Chinese heritage that is significant to the installation is the color red. Red is the Chinese symbol for good fortune. Red also recalls bloodlines – the essence that ties generations of families together.

Versions of Stories on My Back have exhibited at the University of Mississippi and Georgia College & State University. What makes the installation of the piece unique is that it is site-specific, meaning it is different every time it is installed, having to fit in a new space with different dimensions. The VAC Gallery installation of Stories on My Back will be extremely unique because the piece will fit into four different gallery rooms.

MSU photography alumni April Wallace, left, and Candace Hitt help Richard A. Lou with the installation of his exhibit. Hitt received her MFA from the University of Memphis and studied under Lou.

Richard A. Lou is Professor of Photography and Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Memphis. Lou’s career includes work as a curator and essayist and he has worked with groups as the Border Art Workshop and the Georgia Council for the Arts. Lou received his BA in Fine Art from California State University at Fullerton and his MFA in Fine Art from Clemson University.

Stories On My Back will be on display January 15 to March 23, 2013 at the Visual Arts Center (VAC) Gallery, 808 University Drive, Starkville, Mississippi.

The artist, Richard A. Lou will be speaking to the public about his work on March 7, at 3 p.m. in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall.

A gallery reception will also be held Thursday, March 7 from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the VAC Gallery. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information call 662-325-2973.

 

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