From the Gallery – June 2018

July 17th, 2018 Comments Off on From the Gallery – June 2018

Assistant Professor Ginnie Hsu featured as MSU ‘Our People’

June 26th, 2018 Comments Off on Assistant Professor Ginnie Hsu featured as MSU ‘Our People’

Story by Sasha Steinberg | Photo by Megan Bean

She misses being on the Starkville campus, but Assistant Professor of Art Ginnie Hsu has been happily representing Mississippi State abroad this summer.

Hsu recently finished a two-and-a-half-week residency at Light Grey Art Lab in Bergen, Norway. Along with daily observations of the country’s varying landscape, she appreciates inspiration gleaned from regular interactions with locals and nearly 20 fellow artists.

“I’m an illustrator and designer, so I got as many materials as possible while I was there,” she said. “I really care about mental health and want to try and uplift people. I want to do a series of work based on positive psychology, and Norway ranks as one of the happiest places in the world, so I did research by talking to Norwegian people. It was really interesting to get to know them and learn about their culture.”

In May, Hsu completed a month-long residency at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill in Massachusetts. She enjoyed conversing and drawing inspiration from “a really good mix of creative minds,” including designers, producers, art directors, comic artists and fellow illustrators.

“I had never been to Cape Cod, and there were so many things I got to see when I walked around in nature,” Hsu said. “For that residency, I was essentially trying to figure to how to be human, so I was doing illustration work combining nature and the human condition. I’m now looking to write a proposal for a book.”

A native of Taiwan, Hsu holds a bachelor’s in visual communication and a master’s in design and visual communication from the University of Texas at Arlington. She said she looks forward to sharing knowledge from her summer adventures this fall with MSU students in the art department’s web and app design courses.

“I tell my students it really does take time and experience to find out what you love to do, but that’s so important,” she said. “All of the artists I met were so sweet and encouraging. They told me ‘No matter what, just keep going; keep doing what you’re doing.’ I love teaching, and I love my students. I’m excited to share with them what I’ve seen and to be able to just sit down, get all of these ideas out of my brain and get to work on projects. I’ve really enjoyed these experiences, and I’m hoping I can do more.”

Angi Bourgeois appointed dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design

June 21st, 2018 Comments Off on Angi Bourgeois appointed dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University

A highly respected faculty member and administrator in Mississippi State’s Department of Art has been named the new dean of the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Effective July 1, Professor Angi Elsea Bourgeois will lead CAAD after serving nearly two years as the head of its Department of Art, home to the Magnolia State’s largest undergraduate studio art program. She succeeds the college’s founding dean Jim West, one of DesignIntelligence’s 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016 who has resumed full-time teaching duties.

In making the announcement, MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner said Bourgeois “is poised to build on the solid foundation that has been established and the progress of the college’s first 14 years.”

“I look forward to working with Angi as she uses her energy and vision to bring the collective talents of the faculty, students, alumni and industry leaders together to make the College of Architecture, Art and Design even stronger and more visible within our great state, the region and nation,” Bonner said.

“I also want to thank Dean Jim West for the leadership he has provided as the founding dean of this unique college. He has led with distinction and garnered strong support for the college, its faculty and academic programs, and we are so pleased that he will continue to support the college and MSU as a faculty member,” Bonner said.

An MSU faculty member since 2002, Bourgeois has taught a variety of art history courses and climbed the academic ranks with a promotion to professor coinciding with her appointment as art department head. She was re-elected to a two-year term in January as secretary for the Italian Art Society, an international scholarly organization that she joined in 2004.

“It’s a great privilege to be given this opportunity to follow in Dean West’s very capable footsteps,” Bourgeois said. “The College of Architecture, Art and Design has supported me throughout my career, and I’m excited to step into this new role and serve the college at such a dynamic moment.”

In addition to graduating with honors in art history from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, Bourgeois holds a doctorate in Italian Renaissance and medieval art history from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

She is the author of “Reconstructing the Lost Frescoes of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome from the ‘Meditationes’ of Cardinal Juan de Torquemada: A Case Study in the History of Art” (Edwin Mellen Press, 2009). In 2010, she published a digital textbook for art history survey courses titled “The History of the Art of the Western World from Prehistory through the Gothic.”

Learn more about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

See the Maroon Memo.

Upcoming Jackson art fellowship exhibition features MSU professors

June 1st, 2018 Comments Off on Upcoming Jackson art fellowship exhibition features MSU professors

Two faculty members in Mississippi State University’s Department of Art will be featured in an upcoming exhibition organized by the Mississippi Library Commission and Mississippi Arts Commission.

On display June 5-28 at the Mississippi Library Commission’s 3881 Eastwood Drive location in Jackson, “A Perspective of People” showcases work by artists who have been honored through MAC’s highly competitive Visual Artist Fellowship Grant program. Featured artists include MSU associate professors Alexander Bostic and Dominic Lippillo, along with Jackson-based photographer James Patterson. A public reception in their honor takes place June 5 from 5-7 p.m. in the same location.

“Each year, MAC is proud to honor local artists who create exemplary work in their chosen field through our Artist Fellowship program,” said Malcolm White, MAC executive director. “Thanks to this important partnership with the Mississippi Library Commission and our shared vision for enhancing exposure to the arts across our state, we have a great opportunity to spotlight the work and achievements of this year’s fellows.”

Celebrating its 50th year, MSU’s Department of Art is home to the Magnolia State’s largest undergraduate studio art program. Learn more at and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CAADatMSU.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

See the story in the Maroon Memo.

Painting by Alex Bostic accepted to Southern Watercolor Society exhibition

May 24th, 2018 Comments Off on Painting by Alex Bostic accepted to Southern Watercolor Society exhibition

“Greg” by Alex Bostic (watercolor, 30.00 X 23.00 X 0.00 Inches (H x W x D), 2018)

“Greg,” a watercolor painting by Alex Bostic, was accepted into the 41st Southern Watercolor Society Annual Juried Exhibition.

The exhibit will be held at the ArtCenter Manatee in Bradenton, Fla, from May 15 through June 22.

Juror John Salminen chose only 95 paintings from all the submissions.

Work by Alex Bostic selected for international online exhibition

May 24th, 2018 Comments Off on Work by Alex Bostic selected for international online exhibition

“Dupree” by Alexander Bostic

Mississippi State University Department of Art Associate Professor Alexander Bostic’s painting “Dupree” was selected for the 2018 NOAPS Spring International Online Exhibition.

Jurors selected 150 paintings from more than 890 submissions.

See the accepted works here: 

Alex Bostic featured in ‘Artist Spotlight’

May 22nd, 2018 Comments Off on Alex Bostic featured in ‘Artist Spotlight’

“Dupree” by Alexander Bostic

By Dianne Poston Owens | SCNOW Morning News

LAKE CITY, S.C. – Though Alex Bostic left Bennettsville with his family when he was 4, and his time in the northeast became essential to his becoming the artist he is today, he still has cousins, namely Diane and Caroline, to whom he gives a shoutout in his hometown.

Now an art professor at Mississippi State University and living in Starkville, Mississippi, Bostic, who entered an oil painting of his son “Dupree” in this year’s ArtFields competition, credits his time spent in the Pratt Institute art school and his seventh-grade art teacher, Ellen Kuenzel, with helping him achieve his fine artist status.

In Brooklyn Heights, Bostic said, Kuenzel would give me him lessons and talk to him about art.

“I grew up in Brooklyn, and my art teacher, Ellen, mentored me. … To this day I talk to her at least twice a week,” Botic said. “All through my career from seventh grade until now, we have talked. I had lessons on Saturdays, and on Sundays she took me to galleries. … I understood art way better than a seventh-grader should.

“I think that’s why I teach.”

Pratt’s programs are ranked among the best in the nation, with its faculty and alumni among the most renowned artists, designers and scholars in their fields.

Bostic is an illustrator and fine artist. In additional to being on the Mississippi State faculty, he has worked at the Kansas City Art Institute, Woodburry University, Pratt Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University.

After getting his bachelor of fine arts from Pratt, he earned his master of arts degree from Syracuse University and became a studio artist, working in Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; and New York City.

In 2015, Bostic made it to the second round of the ArtFields’ Portrait Artist Competition.

His brother accompanied him on his trip, and the two agreed that Lake City, and ArtFields, was a venue and competition worth revisiting.

“I visited all the works on display and was interested in entering,” Bostic says. “There was outstanding work, and I wanted to be a part of it. When the opportunity came [to enter his work], I took it.”

Bostic said he had just finished the piece “Dupree” and believes it is a good representation of the work he does, and it offers a positive look at a good kid. The painting has been in a show in Chicago and elsewhere.

Bostic said his son, Dupree, is excited that the painting has had its own life.

“He’s in New York City right now, living there,” Bostic said, adding that the painting was done while he helped his son move to the city for a new job. He particularly likes the “determined kind of look on his face.”

It was an important time for the two, Bostic said.

Outside of his art, Bostic collects toys.

“I have a big toy collection,” he said.

His newest one is a figurine of the Incredible Hulk that his son sent to him.

“I’ve got vintage ones, but I like the current ones, too,” Bostic said.

As an educator for the past 34 years, Bostic said he believes in the craft of art, and he wants to “spread that kind of energy all over as much as I can.” His favorite enjoyment is teaching non-art students to draw, he said.

Department of Art celebrates 50th anniversary

May 22nd, 2018 Comments Off on Department of Art celebrates 50th anniversary

Established in 1968, Mississippi State’s Department of Art celebrated its 50th Anniversary this academic year with a series of events:

“Statements: 50 Years of Making”
Art alumni exhibition

Alumni and Student Networking Event
Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery

Alumni Reception at the M-Club
Honoring retiring Professor Brent Funderburk

Alumni Panel: “Creative Education to Creative Careers”
Part of the Eric and Ginna Yonge Lecture Series

Tailgate and Monster Drawing Rally

Longtime MSU art professor to retire

April 30th, 2018 Comments Off on Longtime MSU art professor to retire

Brent Funderburk – MSU Art Professor, painting in his home studio.
(photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)

Charlie Benton | Starkville Daily News

After 36 years teaching art at Mississippi State University and 40 years total in academia, Brent Funderburk will retire from the university on May 22, his 66th birthday.

Funderburk came to MSU as a painting teacher, after time spent painting in North Carolina. Prior to coming to MSU, Funderburk also served on the ar faculties of Nebraska Wesleyan University and East Carolina University, his alma mater. In addition to his teaching and painting, Funderburk is also regarded as an expert on Mississippi Gulf Coast artist Walter Inglis Anderson. While a student at ECU, he studied under painters Edward Reep and Paul Hartley.

“I think 40 years is a good number, and I really desire to be a painter full-time,” Funderburk said.

Despite his desire to paint full-time, Funderburk said he would miss being able to support students on their journey and watch them grow as artists.

“I love the fact that as a visual artist, you can actually physically see young people grow, because we have visual evidence,” Funderburk said. “In other words, their souls are on the outside. They can look whatever way they want to look, but you can’t hide the fact that in visual art, your innards are going to be seen.”

Funderburk expressed a desire to stay young in his retirement as he painted and travelled. He said he was able to stay young as a professor, by spending so much time around college students.

“I’ve just been hanging out with 20-year-olds for 40 years, so I’m going to miss that,” Funderburk said. “I am not going to be the guy at the Hardee’s every morning with the other old farts. That’s not me. I love them. I’ll wave at them as I pass by going to the art store, but I’m going to do 20-year-old stuff, living the life, working really hard painting a lot.”

Funderburk first became interested in art growing up with his twin brother in Charlotte, North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s. He said his parents provided him and his brother with art supplies to give them something constructive to do, and keep them out of trouble.

“My parents always provided us with paper, crayons, art supplies, and we somehow were absorbed throughout almost all of our childhood with playing together and making things,” Funderburk said. “It was something natural that we did. My brother now is a very successful architect.”

As he grew up and went to art school, Funderburk became interested in designing album covers for bands popular during the time period. However, as he prepared to graduate, cassette tapes became the norm.

“Sad little tiny things that fall apart easily, and really an affront to artists,” Funderburk said.

While he was figuring out his next step as he was finishing his Master of Fine Arts degree, someone told Funderburk he might make a good teacher. He then started applying to academic positions in 1978, ending up at NWU.

After a few years at NWU, Funderburk left, and was living and painting in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. However, he began to miss teaching, and again started searching for academic positions.

“I found that I could not as easily teach squirrels and snakes,” Funderburk said. “The classes didn’t go very well with those snails and turtles and frogs. I missed it, so I applied for the only job that I’ve ever seen in any job search at the university level, where the name of the position was ‘watercolor artist.’ Almost always it’s ‘painter,’ or ‘drawing’ at a university position, something like that, but this was for a watercolor painter, so that was unique.”

Funderburk said the location in Mississippi piqued his interest a little, because of his prior knowledge of Walter Anderson.

“The fact that Mississippi State very particularly wanted an academic watercolor painter, was very attractive to me,” Funderburk said.
Funderburk plans to stay in Starkville after he retires.

“My wife, Debby, teaches dance, and has taught dance here for 25 years at State, and she is still teaching,” Funderburk said. “We’ll travel a lot, and I’ll be working a lot, and I’ll show my work a lot across the country and internationally. It’s a great college town, a great place for a headquarters to be an artist in the 21st century.”

Funderburk described his work as being inspired by nature, but said he didn’t consider himself a landscape painter. The last class he will teach at MSU will be a Walter Anderson course, involving making trips to the Mississippi barrier islands to paint as Anderson once did.

A public reception for Funderburk will be held by the MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design in the Dawg House at the Colvard Student Union on May 2 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“I’m thankful to God for being at Mississippi State, and for everyone who’s been with me along the way,” Funderburk said.

Read more in the Maroon Memo.

Fine art exhibition ‘In the Amber’ features 16 Mississippi State seniors

April 23rd, 2018 Comments Off on Fine art exhibition ‘In the Amber’ features 16 Mississippi State seniors

Via Brent Funderburk

“That is a very earthly question to ask…Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?…well here we are…trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
— Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Exhibit in three galleries on campus from April 28 to May 2
During April and early May, an exhibition in three Mississippi State University galleries will showcase 16 senior fine art students’ visions of life in the present. Their show, “In the Amber,” presents a year of reflection and offers a potent metaphor for our times.

The concept of “In the Amber”
Each spring the graduating fine art students in Mississippi State’s Department of Art are tasked with creating a theme for their capstone thesis exhibition. This year, the students titled their show “In the Amber,” inspired by a quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Explaining the reasoning behind this title, the thesis students stated, “In order to protect themselves from contaminants and to mend broken branches, trees produce resin which will, under special circumstances, fossilize into amber. During the fossilization process, any plants, insects or other material trapped inside the resin are immaculately preserved. In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, amber is a symbol that represents a fixed point in time, and the people who share the experience of that time are like bugs trapped in the amber.” Similarly, the Mississippi State University Bachelor of Fine Art Thesis Show could be compared to the process of something of the moment stilled in timeless amber. “In the Amber” is the manifestation of each student’s college career, showcasing 16 unique and personal bodies of work covering into one location and time.

Show and reception details
“In the Amber” will be on display from Sat., April 28 through Wed., May 2, 2018. Between five and 15 works by each student will be exhibited in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall, the MSU Welcome Center’s Cullis-Wade Depot Gallery and the CAAD Visual Arts Center Gallery (808 University Drive, Starkville). Each space will house five to six different students’ bodies of work. An opening reception will be held on Sat., April 28 from 2 – 4:30 p.m., starting in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall, moving on to the other two locations at 3 and 3:45 p.m. respectively. Introductions of all the students will begin at 2:30 p.m. in McComas. This reception is open to the public, and food and drinks will be provided. View a map of all the exhibits.

Student artists represented by over 100 works
In October of 2017, Victoria Allgood of Madison experienced the death of two very important people in her life. With no time to mourn, she channeled the memories of her lost family members into her thesis work. Allgood’s mixed media work combines portraits and photos of her deceased family with everyday objects in order to capture the presence of each individual. Through her thesis, she has been able work through her emotions surrounding these tragic events.As a Christian, student and MSU football player, Tré Braswell of Olive Branch calls attention to student athletes and Christianity through four large-scale oil and acrylic paintings. His paintings depict both male and female athletes from a variety of MSU sports. Braswell feels he and other student athletes have been limited in their ability to express their faith during the sports they play for the university, and his work brings light to this issue.

Combining art, science and religion using watercolor, Claire Burgett of Nashville, Tenn., reveals her world to the viewer through the peony. Representing herself, the peony highlights the patterns created by God and nature. With the addition of collages and geometric patterns, Burgett gives new meaning and life to a simple flower.

In his series of intaglio prints, Alex Cayson of Tupelo, depicts himself exploring ancient ruins and encountering various mythical beings. Each piece focuses on a specific ancient culture, and the shape and color of each work is made to resemble various artifacts. His work captures the excitement of exploration, the wonder of discovery and the arcane beauty of ancient ruins.

Coming from a musical family in New Albany, musical instruments have always been a part of Darren Cheairs’s life. His interest in these instruments, however, lies in exploring ways they can serve a purpose other than making music. Cheairs’s thesis consists of several sculptural works that cause viewers to reconsider the function of an object.

From Kosciusko, Madison Cheek’s series of paintings centers around his mental space which he depicts as an abstracted cavern in various atmospheric color schemes. Following several years of suffering from depression, he now considers his mental space as “a more peaceful grotto of self-reflection and progress.” By exploring the relationships between his past, present and future selves, Cheek’s work has helped him find meaning in the unnamable emotions that linger after going through depression.

Daniel Clark of Tupelo presents a body of work that uses abstract imagery to inspire a discomfort that he considers his norm. Made from a variety of media such as acrylic paint and glaze, modeling paste, charcoal and colored pencils, his heavily textured works lure viewers into experiencing unpleasant feelings.

Drawing on her Cambodian heritage, the works of Isabelle Cottrell of Starkville are dedicated to the refugees, survivors and victims of the Khmer Rouge—a genocide in Cambodia that killed 2 million people. By including traditional Cambodian textiles in her mixed media work, Cottrell creates pieces that represent the artifacts that are still embedded in the ground and trees at the Killing Fields in Cambodia.

Inspired by the visual development and concept art of animated films, Phoebe Fitzgerald of Decatur, Ala., has created a body of work utilizing both traditional and digital media. This body of work consists of concept art and visual development for an imagined animated film based on House of Many Ways by Dianna Wynne Jones, a favorite book from her childhood. Fitzgerald’s work imbues the characters and environments from the story with life, color and vivacity in order to inspire love for and interest in the stories that inspire her.

From Summit, Nicolette Johnson depicts an original story inspired by classic Greek myths through a series of intaglio prints. Set in the fictional underworld of the kingdom of Kingzvire, her story presents a retelling of Persephone’s and Hades’s forbidden love. Her characters experience adversity on their journey that serves as a parallel to the tests everyone experiences in their own lives.

Through her mixed media drawings, Jordan Knight of Brandon brings light to endangered species of birds in America. Her pieces, which require intense research, combine the unique aspects of each bird—such as their color, wingspan and environment—into a cohesive drawing that gives a voice to these beautiful, yet, endangered birds.

From Flowood, Justin Mayfield enjoys arranging models, photographing them and constructing their portraits. The portraits of the characters in his thesis series personify the cardinal sins of this life. Mayfield’s portraits are made with charcoal, which allows both a smooth transition of value across the form and a deep, contrasting black that creates “a most abysmal void.”

Vernon McCoy of Jackson uses his work to visualize the lifelong obstacles he has faced in his journey to lead his family out of financial oppression and limited education. His thesis reflects the “path of sunlight shining through a storm” that he lived through as a poor child who is now a college graduate and business owner. His paintings utilize strong lighting, self portraiture, emotional color and perspective to create compositions that express his life experiences.

Inspired by film photography from various eras, Carly Melton of Clinton employs the inherent sentimentality, honesty and nostalgia of family snapshots in a series of acrylic paintings. Melton’s paintings feature a cast of characters and settings that depict a personal narrative of closeted trans-masculine identity. The process of creating this body of work proved extremely cathartic to Melton.

In her series of digital illustrations, Kristan Williams of Ocean Springs depicts two characters as they episodically travel together through a challenging landscape. Inspired by the films of Hayao Miyazaki, the works are an exploration of themes of companionship and self-discovery.

Through her watermedia works, Shawna Williams of Hattiesburg combines her love of music and her identity as a Christian. Throughout her life, Shawna has used music and art to help her cope with difficult family situations. Her works express the different challenges she has faced during these situations through a unique language of musical and visual terms, forms and mediums.

Art Department celebrating its 50th anniversary
The BFA Fine Art Thesis Exhibition is part of a required sequence of professional preparation courses in Advanced Studio, Senior Research and Senior Thesis courses for the art major in the fine art concentration at Mississippi State University. A program in the College of Architecture, Art and Design, the Department of Art is the largest undergraduate program in the state of Mississippi, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Contact: Brent Funderburk, Professor and Senior Fine Art Thesis Coordinator/

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