Entomologist's artwork to be exhibited in Tupelo

Joe MacGown, an entomologist at Mississippi State University, will have his art exhibited in Gumtree Museum in Tupelo Mississippi. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

The art of Joe MacGown, a scientific illustrator and curatorial assistant in Mississippi State University's Department of Entomology, will be exhibited at the Gumtree Museum of Art in Tupelo.

MacGown's art will be featured from Jan. 25 to March 11. The opening reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

MacGown will have 30 to 35 pieces of art displayed in the show. His works have been exhibited in Amsterdam, Russia, Italy, Portugal, the Philippines, as well as in many places in the United States, including Dallas, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

"It's really neat to be in cool shows, and have your art with these really good artists from other countries at these pretty neat venues," MacGown said. "I've been able to exhibit in other countries, here and there, and it has been nice to be able to exhibit my artwork here, as well."

MacGown's favorite mediums to use for his art are fine-tip pens and colored inks from bottles. His works are intricate, using thick lines and precise detailing to make every stroke of his pen important to the overall composition of the piece. Recently, MacGown has been doing work with wood as his canvas.

MacGown's inspiration can come from anything in his environment, or from his past, he said. He is an active artist, and is able to work in circumstances that some artists may consider too distracting to create in.
"I find the way I do my art is a little unusual. I don't come up with ideas for art," MacGown said. "I don't think about what I'm going to do for a picture ahead of time. I'm very random — I just let those kind of flow out, and it seems to do its own thing."

What may be distractions to some, MacGown said, are not distractions to him. They may even become part of the artwork.

"They involve a little bit of everything," MacGown said. "Science, people, science fiction, imaginary things, the chaos of life — interconnection of everything, how everything is connected. I think about that a lot."

MacGown's artwork is not the typical representational artwork that is common in the south and after sharing his art with many places at venues around the world, he is excited to share it with the region in which he lives and works.

"It's something different for this area," MacGown said. "Most people would never see something like this in this region, so I think it's a good time to really experience something unique, artistically, for the region."

A collaborative piece that MacGown created with 16 other artists from several countries has just returned from an exhibit in Washington, D.C., and will be on display with more of MacGown's works. MacGown also said he is working on a new series that promises to please his audience.

"I've been thinking about politics, and religion and life," MacGown said. "Life and how we deal with life, and they go into these really weird drawings."

MacGown has never been able to attend his international exhibits, but he aspires to make it to one of them in the future.

"The next big show we have will be in a grand palace in Portugal," MacGown said. "I might try to go to that one. We'll see where it goes."