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

    Tour gives students glimpse of Mississippi

    In the dim interior of the Crystal Grill in Greenwood, Takako Saeki took her first bite of catfish. She liked it.
    Later, Kilian Faber darted glances at the last piece of pie waiting on a tray a few feet away. He waited while banana pudding and coconut pie were served, wanting to see what would be next. Finally, he sprang from his chair.
    “It doesn’t matter what that is, I’ll just eat it,” he laughed. It was chocolate pie; “Yum, ja, ja,” he said after the first bite.
    Saeki, a native of Japan, and Faber, a German, were two of 36 foreign Mississippi State University students sampling Southern foods ranging from black-eyed peas to green bean casserole in a room at the Crystal Grill that once served as the lobby of a hotel. The meal was part of a tour of Mississippi designed to introduce foreign and out-of-state students to the state.
    Saeki, who has fallen in love with Mississippi after two weeks’ residence, said she liked the visit to the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson and the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. But her new faculty members: Critz Campbell, James Davis, Rebecca Davis, Jason DeMarte and Herb Rieth.
    The exhibit showcases a diverse range of work from members of the department of art, gallery director Bill Andrews said. The show includes painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, graphic design, furniture design and digital media.
    “This exhibit is so exciting because the faculty get to put in the works that are exciting to them, current projects and all, that viewers anticipate seeing,” Andrews said.
    He added: “There were more than 400 people in attendance for the opening reception, which lent to a great atmosphere of interest and excitement. Faculty, students, community members, business and industry and members of local government were all present. This, to me, displays a wonderful power of the arts to various interests.”
    The emotion in the art show ranges from personal to political.
    A piece by Marita Gootee expresses her sympathy towards the victims in the December 2004 tsunami disaster that took the lives of over 220,000 people. The series of photographs, titled “Sand Shadows,” show haunting images of people walking through waves on a beach shore. The people, who are doing something that most people would find relaxing and innocent, are portrayed in an eerie, whisping manner, almost like ghosts.
    In her artist’s commentary, Gootee writes that the works were created before the tsunami crisis, but the meaning of them changed when the epic event happened. Before she says they represented play and a sense of wonder, and now they represent the loss of innocence.
    Critz Campbell, a new faculty member who teaches sculpture and 3-D design, showcases two pieces called “Eudora” and “Pretty Polly.” “Eudora” is a chair made from a mold, then upholstered and covered in polyester resin. The chair is designed in 1930s fashion and is lighted on the inside. The lighting makes it look almost translucent. “Pretty Polly” is a vintage dress from the 30s that is made into a picture and illuminated.”
    “The two pieces that I have in the show are meant to express a sense of hyper-reality and a past that is gone. We can never get back the past,” Campbell said.
    Some of the works contain more political expressions, such as Rebecca Davis’ series of works that are meant to make viewers find their standpoint on corporate sponsorship.
    Davis created a series of faux stained glass pieces showing what Christianity would be like if corporate sponsorship ran rampant. Some of the titles include “Pepsi, Turning Water Into Wine,” “Campbell’s The Last Supper: It’s MMM, MMM, Good” and “(un)Holy Trinity: Agencies, Corporations, and the Public.” Though the works are somewhat comical, Davis means to ask people when enough is enough for sponsorship.
    Art Lecturer Marc Poole submitted a painting entitled “Bird Bath” depicting a woman washing a classic Ford Thunderbird. The painting is so detailed that the viewer can actually see the bubbles in the suds on the hood of the car.
    “Marc is a different kind of teacher. He doesn’t teach by the book,” 20-year-old art student Leah Kline said. “He teaches you to look at things in different ways, and he’s really fun.”
    The art department has been holding the faculty art exhibit for a long time.
    “The art department here was developed in the 1960’s and has had a faculty art show since the beginning. It’s a tradition in art schools around the world,” said Andrews. “It is important for students to see what the art department here has to offer. There’s a lot of talent here,” he added.
    Joe Dent, 22, worked the exhibit as part of his art gallery management class.
    “The show turned out really good. I was not expecting so many people,” Dent said. “[The faculty] all have a bundle of talent.”
    All students and Starkville residents may view the exhibit, which is free to the public.
    “It is important to have some knowledge of Fine Art. It is an important aspect of our culture and a truly educated person will have some experience viewing art. Any exposure to it is important,” said Andrews.
    When viewing art, a person must keep an open mind, DeMarsche said.
    “When you look at a piece it is important to look deeper into it. Ask yourself what it means to you,” she said. “Art is a visual language.”
    Andrews said the show took over 20 hours to put together. In addition to the gallery management group, gallery assistants William Griffin of the department of art and Dylan Karges of the Cobb Institute for Archaeology put in numerous hours with installation and lighting.
    The gallery receives support from the college of architecture, art and design, the office of the Provost, the office of the vice president for research, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Starkville Area Arts Council and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Andrews said. “All of these agencies are interested in the Starkville/MSU area being a leader in the visual arts and in having an exhibit venue that serves the entire area.”
    “We are fortunate here at MSU and in Starkville to have a strong interest in the arts that is continually growing and expanding,” he said.
    The gallery is located in McComas Hall. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Exhibit will remain open through Sept. 16.
    The gallery is closed during university holidays. For more information or
    to book tours, call the Department of Art at (662) 325 – 2970 or visit http://coldfusion.art.msstate.edu/ and click on the gallery link.

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Tour gives students glimpse of Mississippi