Memphis College of Art currently has two exhibitions open. “Horn Island 31” in the Rust Hall Main Gallery runs through Oct. 2nd. A special opening reception will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Meanwhile at the Hyde Gallery of the Nesin Graduate School in downtown’s South MAin neighborhood, which school officials recently announced will be closing to consolidate all academic program around its Overton Park campus, the Inaugural Faculty Biennial Exhibition runs through Sept. 26th. A closing reception will be held 6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25th.
The annual Horn Island exhibition’s artwork is the outcome of an 11-day annual trip by MCA students, faculty and alumni to Horn Island, a barrier island off the coast of Pascagoula, Miss. This year, 40 participants made the excursion, immersing themselves in the relative isolation and primitive conditions of the undeveloped island.
Traditionally, the first stop for the excursion is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Miss. Anderson, an American artist who spent much of his childhood and adult life in coastal Mississippi, drew heavily on the wildlife and environment of Horn Island for his work. This year, however, the Museum galleries featured the work of MCA artists from the Horn Island 30 excursion in A Halcyon Place: Horn Island 30.
“In celebration of the Horn Island program’s milestone anniversary, the Museum offered us the opportunity to display the artwork created by the HI30 participants,” said Don DuMont, director of the Horn Island program. “It was a very special way to begin this year’s excursion, especially since the Walter Anderson Museum has been such a wonderful partner for so many years.”
On the island, the artists worked on a north side installation of found fallen wood. Some explored the east and west sections of the island on foot, while others explored the inner lagoons on kayaks, some having firsthand encounters with osprey, black skimmers, alligators, dolphins, rays and raccoons. DuMont says the unspoiled, natural setting provides unique artistic inspiration. “On Horn Island, participants have the time to reflect and respond to an idea without the interruption of modern day conveniences,” said DuMont. He notes that the conditions on the island each year also have an impact on the participants.
“There was a large storm on the Thursday of the excursion which influenced pieces for several of the artists.” Participants are given several weeks following the excursion to develop a body of work inspired by their experience.
Gallery hours for the Horn Island 31 exhibition are Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; and Sunday, noon – 4 p.m.
The faculty biennial exhibition marks the first time a faculty exhibition has been held in the Hyde Gallery. Over 20 faculty members have submitted work in media ranging from fiber to metal.
“We’re especially honored to have the participation of two of our faculty emeriti, Fred Burton and Richard Prillaman,” said Remy Miller, dean and vice president for Academic Affairs.
Prillaman, a metalsmith who taught at MCA for 25 years and headed the Metals department, is noted for designing and constructing small sculpture pieces, utilitarian objects and jewelry from non-ferrous metals. He primarily works in sterling silver, but has also created pieces in bronze, brass, gold, steel and titanium. Burton taught at MCA for 27 years and was head of the Painting department. Both artists have exhibited their work in galleries throughout the world.
Participating faculty include Elizabeth Brown, Fred Burton, Colleen Couch-Smith, Maritza Davila, Don DuMont, Shannon Elliott, Colleen Fitzgerald, David Gress, Adam Hawk, Jean Holmgren, Tom Lee, Susan Maakestad, Remy Miller, Haley Morris-Cafiero, Joe Morzuch, Michele Noiset, Wesley Ortiz, Terri Phillips, Richard Prillaman, Marc Rouillard, Michael Shaw, Eszter Sziksz, Leandra Urrutia and Jill Wissmiller.
Gallery hours for the Hyde Gallery are Monday–Friday, noon–5 p.m. and Saturday, noon–7 p.m.