USM Museum of Art Set to Exhibit Pieces by Professor, Works from Permanent Collection

By Ivonne Kawas

The Museum of Art in The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Performing and Visual Arts set to open exhibit featuring two shows: pieces by Art and Design Professor, Marcus Michaels: Painting & Drawing, in conjunction with Works from the Permanent Collection on Nov. 18 – Dec. 8 at the Hattiesburg campus.

The solo show of painting and drawing by Michaels will be complemented by works from a broad spectrum of artists, ranging from USM alumni to more well known internationally recognized 20th and 21st Century artists, that are now housed by USM’s permanent art collection.

“We are ecstatic to have this opportunity to showcase the work of Marcus Michaels, as well as some of the most highly prized works in our permanent collection,” said Mark Rigsby, Museum Director and associate professor of Art and Design. 

Michaels work has been exhibited in several solo exhibitions and two-person exhibits, as well as numerous international, national, and regional juried and invitational exhibitions. He received an MFA in painting from Indiana University. Currently, he is an associate professor of foundation in the Art and Design program at USM.

“I construct original compositions based on direct observations of forms in nature. Specifically, my work involves the figure in an interior/studio environment. My paintings are a response to the formal relationships between the elements of color, light, and shape,” said Michaels. 

His oil on canvas, Garden, incorporates multiple household objects from hanging clothes to a vase holding a flower. Michael’s use of color, light, and shape creates a tension between stillness and movement, challenging our understanding of painted art as stationary. 

“Distilling into singular 2D form the many rich observable conditions of nature, I seek to convey the subtleties of light, temperature, and atmosphere, as these impact our visual perception of the figure,” said Michaels. “A natural, yet ephemeral condition is paused for our reflection.”

“Painting communicates in a glance that which cannot simply be said.” 

The Works from the Permanent Collection will feature 18-20 pieces. Some featured works on display will include: a pastel drawing by abstract painter, Thorton Willis, an optical art painting by New York artist and USM alumnus, Ken Weathersby, an aquatint collage by French artist Max Papart (1911-1994), a lithograph by well known, Spanish artist Joan Miró (1893-1983) and a 2005 gift to the museum from Barbara and Mark Workman.

The show will also include two ceramic sculptures by contemporary artists, Scott Ross and Jeff Schmuki, and drawings by USM alumni, Tommie Bush-Rogers, Carrol Thompson and Lisa Millet.

In addition, the show will feature two beautiful etchings by Italian-American printmaker, Luigi Lucioni (1900-1988), as well as large blown glass sculpture, by Stephen Paul Day, titled “for Claudia, Apothecary Bottle,” and a 2005 gift from Doug and Dixon Montague, with additional support from Jack Sullivan. 

The exhibition opens Nov. 18, with an opening reception at 6 p.m., and runs through Dec. 8, in the Gallery of Art and Design, George Hurst Building. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.