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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

‘Affinity’ art exhibit showcases artistic styles

Ian and Natalie Shelly | Courtesy Photograph

Natalie and Ian Shelly created their ‘Affinity’ art exhibit together, which is available for viewing until March 11 in the Visual Arts Center Gallery. A piece of Natalie’s work ‘Correspondance’ (top) and Ian’s ‘Campsite Plan Alpha’ (bottom) are shown.

“Affinity,” an art exhibition that features the artwork of Ian and Natalie Shelly, will be on display from Feb. 4 until March 11 in the Visual Arts Center Gallery. The gallery is located at 808 University Drive.

A reception for the exhibit was held on Feb. 4 and visitors were able to view the artwork and meet the artists.

Art gallery director Lori Neuenfeldt said “Affinity” is an exhibition of ceramic artwork from Ian and Natalie Shelly, whose artwork have very different styles.

“Ian’s work appears gritty, dark and rough, while Natalie’s pieces are fragile, light and minimal,” Neuenfeldt said.

Ian Shelly said “Affinity” should present a very interesting contrast of artistic styles.

“Natalie is interested in the tangible moments that are created while in quiet observation, while I am interested in how themes and touchstones from my childhood are reorganized within the parameters of my adult life,” Shelly said. “We are continually inspired by each other’s art endeavors.”

Neuenfeldt said both artists are interested in using materials to explore connections and interactions with the world around us: people, memories, traditions and location all contribute to their visual investigations.

Ian Shelly said there is a similarity in the way he and Natalie both handle materials and surfaces.

“At first glance, the work couldn’t seem more different, but upon closer attention, one can see a way we both use an attraction for rich surfaces,” Shelly said. “We are also married so we feel that it is interesting how two people create work in shared spaces and how they react to installation.”

Natalie Shelly is the ceramics coordinator and educator at the Macomb Park District Ceramics Studio in Macomb, Illinois. Ian Shelly is an Assistant Professor of Art at Western Illinois University.

Ian Shelly said their friend Adrienne Callander helped put the art show together in Starkville because they both live so far away.

“The three of us taught foundation art classes in New Albany, Indiana, some years ago,” Shelly said. “When artists cross paths, wonderful ideas and opportunities begin to form and we follow them.”

Ian said he and Natalie do not do art exhibitions together very often.

“This isn’t intentional though. We have different schedules and creating work together is difficult. It is easier to create a themed exhibition that we can both fit our work into,” Shelly said.

The Visual Arts Center Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 1 until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 1 until 4 p.m.

“Affinity” and other programs at the Visual Arts Center Gallery are supported by the Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art and Design and are made possible with a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission through the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information about Natalie Shelly or Ian Shelly, visit their websites at and

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‘Affinity’ art exhibit showcases artistic styles