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MSU BFA Thesis Show now open

November 11, 2010

Abandoned classrooms, vandalized desks, chipped wall paint, dirty tile and lifeless school halls are not usually a cause for inspiration.
When Julia Moore came upon her muse, a local, abandoned high school, this is exactly what she found.
A native of Cary, Moore always asked herself: “Why does society waste so much?”
Moore walked the halls of a building that once was a thriving, center of learning, wondering how anyone could leave such a place for ruin.
The students had been replaced by dirt and debris. Classrooms had been vandalized. Desks were turned over and upside down. Valuable books sat rotting on shelves.
This was enough for Julia Moore, a senior Mississippi art student, to compile an entire body of art work that will soon grace the campus gallery walls.
Moore will be displaying her work along with eight other seniors in the MSU bachelor of fine arts program. The show will run from Nov. 9 through Dec. 2 with two receptions.
Both will be held on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall and at 6:30 p.m. in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery.
It is open to the public and food and drinks will be provided.
Like Moore, all of the students in the show took intense initiative in their work. They have also, unknowingly, pinned two answers to a very old question against each other, begging the art viewer to consider whether art is most effective when it is evocative, or provocative.
Should people stick to the traditions that their entire lives are built upon?
One side of the show, including Moore, deals with these traditions gracefully, and the other challenges them.
Mary Catherine Davis of Carrollton is also focusing on a specific place where those traditions have influenced her most. Davis’ six-paneled, collage painting “relates to how the old farmlands and sleepy, dusty, Delta towns (of her childhood)” make her feel.
Along with those similar ties to the past, Riette Pace of Pretoria, South Africa decided to embody memories of her own childhood with five panels of mixed media and oil paint. She uses these panels, along with several, small, canvas additions, to enhance the presence of her memories and expand their meanings.
Maggie Wooten from northern Alabama pursues traditional, darkroom processing to photograph the woods in the South, focusing on its textures and layers.
Mark Moore of Long Beach also sticks with established materials and processes, engaging carved wood to render textured, curvilinear shapes, showing off the lines of the natural forms.
There are, on the other hand, those traditions people choose to either ignore or blatantly fight.
Four of the senior art students preparing themselves for this show are going against some of the accepted status quo, in order to provoke viewers into contemplating alternatives.
On one end of this progressive spectrum is Josh Gilmer of Madison, who is taking customary, functional, ceramic pieces and designing them to resemble hard, metal, faceted machines.
Gilmer is attempting to change the moldable, hand-crafted image of clay and present a body of seemingly stiff, rigid work.
Chris Bobo of Batesville and Whitney Turnipseed of Greenville are both changing up the process by which information is typically derived.
Bobo is using black and white film, with the alternative, Lith printing process. This is a lengthy, difficult process but is one by which Bobo can “express his true fascination with nature.”
Turnipseed is opposing the old-school idea that, “everyone must understand the meanings of his/her dreams” with the question: “Why can we not simply recount our dreams and document their fictive moods and environments without over interpreting their imagery and symbols?”
And then there is the sculpture by Geoff Jeffreys of Madison. In order to turn the heads of those who think “sculpture is supposed to be a heroic gesture made out of manly materials such as wood, bronze and marble,” Jeffreys, instead, uses pool toys, jelly beans, cardboard and other found objects to construct a small village.
These nine MSU art students are putting out significant works about their own feelings toward everything from personal dreams to social waste and alternative solutions, in order to evoke and provoke the viewer to consider new possibilities.

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