The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

New Associations: New faculty in the Department of Art showcase their own work




Wound balls of fabric, one composed of shreds of a friend’s wedding dress, paintings inspired by the details of a fictional character’s life, paintings of California landscape not excluding rusted cars and signs, and letterpress books that require one to touch, handle and even poke holes in them are all now on display in McComas Hall.


“New Associations: Works by New Faculty in the Department of Art” exhibit gives the Mississippi State University campus an opportunity to view and, in some cases, interact with the work of four new faculty members in the Department of Art.


Adrienne Callander, lecturer in 2D design and art appreciation, is exhibiting work from her “Ball Series,” which includes wrapped balls of fabric, similar to a ball of yarn, on display. The fabric that makes up the balls ranges from yarn from the unraveled sweaters of friends to a Hawaiian shirt once belonging to Callander’s father, who passed away in 2007. Callander said the series is about an exploration of the history of a material in relation to its representation of human growth, through its restructuring in a different way.


“The guiding impulse for this series is to see a material history, to glimpse an object not in its original state, partially obscured, buried within itself. I think that is the condition of being alive, of growth. We grow over ourselves, obscuring our childhood selves, our young adult selves, our early parenting selves,” she said.


Neal Callander, husband of Adrienne Callendar, foundations coordinator and assistant professor of drawing, painting and design, is showcasing paintings from a current series with a common thread: Callander said each painting is inspired by a detail related to a fictional character he has created, Dusty.


“I don’t try to think about him in terms of a narrative story line. It’s this other thing happening that I get to peer into and borrow from a little bit. The main purpose (of Dusty) is fuel to make paintings,” he said.


His paintings include titles like “Dusty’s Table,” revealing snapshots of Dusty’s life that Callander said are meant to invite interpretation from the viewer.


“I’m OK with saying that I think of those paintings on some level as a choose-your-own-adventure book; I think it’s a delightful experience that you can go look at it one way and a week later, you’re a different person, and you come back and experience it in a different way,” he said.


Gregory Martin, assistant professor of drawing and design, paints large scale images related to the landscape of his native state, California, which he said are explorations of the affects of human life.


“I always thought there was a big disconnect between the idealism of landscape painting and the people who collect them. What we do in the world, our footprint and the artifacts we leave behind are clues at our real attitudes,” he said.


An example of a specific subject Martin painted at one time was trees in front yards of homes that were severely trimmed but not demolished, and the branches grew back in strange, unnatural ways.


Suzanne Powney, assistant professor in letter press, graphic design and advertising, is exhibiting a series of three books that break traditional rules of artwork: they must be touched and held to be understood.


Powney said she is interested in exploring the tactile qualities of artwork, of touching and experiencing in different ways.


“The work is not just a book to look at it but to touch and to be part of; I don’t like the idea of making things that are put up on a pedestal behind glass. I want you to touch them and interact with them. It’s all about the tactile how you touch and interact with them and perceive them,” she said.


Powney said each book has a specific experience that creates the interaction, whether poking through pre-cut holes, scratching with graphite pencils or getting up close to the text embossed white on white paper.


“Everything in the books is my own perfect manifest on touch: the words stroke, poke and trace,” she said.


Lydia Thompson, head of the Department of Art, said as well as impressive work and education credentials, the new faculty are actively involved with students, from Martin bringing in his motorcycle as a still life or Callendar’s design I class creating and hanging road signs of various social issues around the lawns of the art buildings.


“The strength of our new faculty is their energy and willingness to get involved with students and enhancing our facilities, through public projects and showcasing their student’s work throughout the art facilities,” she said.


“New Associations” will run in the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall until Feb. 23.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
New Associations: New faculty in the Department of Art showcase their own work