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Local artist reception held at MSU tonight

March 8, 2011

Artwork by Betty Jane Chatham

"Pursuit of Realism" was conceived as the title out of respect to the artistic process of each artist, said Dylan Karges.
He said Starkville artists, Betty Jane Chatham and Frances Thompson have a never-ending pursuit for both acuracy and evocation.
"How these two ladies are able to capture a single moment in time with a poignant stroke of their brush is beyond me, and I have looked over these paintings countless times in hope to glean some sense of the sequence, some sense of that moment of making," Karges said.
Karges, curator for the Pursuit of Realism exhibit at the Colvard Student Union, said this exhibit is in celebration of Womens History Month, and serves as a collaboration of the Starkville Area Arts Council, the MSU Campus Activities Board and the Colvard Student Union.
The artists' reception is set for 5 to 7 p.m. tonight in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery. The public is invited to attend and light refreshments will be served.
The exhibit runs through April 1. The Gallery is open 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and weekends from 10 a.m until 10 p.m. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Colvard Student Union.
Karges said he has known and loved the work of both Chatham and Thompson for many years as part of their mutual association with SAAC and participating in exhibits with Arts In Public Places.
"I confess to volunteering to curate the show for selfish reasons," Karges said. "I wanted to see more of thier work and to get to know them better. Working with Frances and Betty Jane has made me a better artist, a better professional, and a better man in general."
Karges said in preparation for this show, discussions over the last year have ranged from childhood stories to debates about the success of one painting over another, and then finally how to put all the works together in one show.
"How do you edit out part of a lifetime's work or worse yet, two?  This was a challenge I thought I was up for...I have my doubts still," Karges said.
With about 60 works to choose from, Karges said about 37 were hung in the exhibit. At the end of two days of reorganizing the groupings, and renogotiating with the artists themselves, still over 20 fantastic paintings left on a cart to be taken back home.
"There were favorites of each artist and my own out of the mix that didn't make it to the wall in the final version of the exhibit, and it still hurts my feelings a bit, but in general I am very pleased with the exhibit, and have no doubts whatsoever in the quality of the work on the wall," Karges said. "If I walk away from this year as president of the Starkville Area Arts Council with nothing else accomplished, I will feel satisfied in knowing that I had a part in sharing these two incredible women's work with our community."
For more information about this event, go to or call 325-2930.

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