The work of Tirzah Legg, senior art student at USM, is on display in the Gallery of Art and Design in the George Hurst building. The show is titled Proximity, and will be open until December 16.
The works presented in the show carry the overarching theme of the natural. When you first walk into the gallery, the first thing that catches the eye are several white net-like structures, rising around orange clay pots full of what appears to be water. According Legg’s artist statement, these structures are inspired by fungi.
The pots were made from clay that Tirzah harvested from three specific locales. The first is from her hometown in Saucier. The second was from Perkinston, where Legg attended community college, and the third is from around Hattiesburg, where Legg will be graduating from USM.
Legg states that the logs refer to the mythological phoenix, in which a bird is born from its own ashes. “So too,” states Legg, “are the logs that were burned to create these ceramic forms.” These plaster-cast logs stand upright on end, a marbled covering giving them a stony look over their organic, wooden forms.
The third type of object represented are the beetles, which Legg was drawn to because of their diversity. The beetles are colorful and shiny, displaying a variety of texture. Legg says that she used “the formal study of the form, color, and texture of beetles” to represent a “transition from functional pottery to sculptural ceramics.”