2020 Southern Miss Ceramics National

The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art and School of Performing and Visual Arts is pleased to present the Southern Miss Ceramics National, 2020, a national juried exhibition of ceramic works made by artists from across the United States.

This year’s exhibition was juried by internationally recognized artist, Richard Notkin. After reviewing a total of 466 entries, Notkin selected 103 works by 58 artists from across the country. Exhibiting artists include:  Dyan Akkouche, Megan Angolia, Aodan Aodan, Joan Baron, Kenneth Baskin, Shannon Blakey, Jake Boggs, Jim Budde, Sean Clute, Jim Connell, Joe Doyle, Jaymes Dudding, Jessica Dupuis, Kevin Eaton, Curtis Frederick, Ovidio Giberga, Emily Gomez, Jack Halpern, Sharon Harper, Rebecca Harvey, Jennifer Holt, John Hopkins, Kira Kalondy, Meredith Knight, Anna Kruse, Tony Kukich, Benjamin Lambert, JeeEun Lee, Carrie Longley, Wade MacDonald, Asia Mathis, Jamie McVay, Joy Nagy, Carrie Anne Parks, Christopher Payne, Joann Quinones, Jenny Reed, Jesse Ring, Taylor Robenalt, Karen Roderick-Lingeman, George Rodriquez, Jennifer Rosseter, Kazuma Sambe, Suzanne Sidebottom, Jessica Smith, Jason Starin, Meriel Stern, Kourtney Stone, Suzanne Storer, Carolyn Stupin, RJ Sturgess, Tabatha Trolli, Will Van Dyke, Anna Wagner, Casey Whittier, Emma Wilson, Nicole Woodard, Kara Zupancic.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s show is fully online and features this exhibition webpage, as well as a digital catalog, a virtual walkthrough gallery and a lecture presentation.

Join us on November 13 for an online visiting artist lecture by Richard Notkin. The presentation will include a slide presentation and a live Q&A session. Exhibition awards will be also announced at this time. Link coming soon.

The Southern Miss Ceramics National and events were made possible through a generous grant from Partners for the Arts.

Please be sure to sign our guestbook through the comment section at the bottom of the page.

Date //

Friday, Oct. 23 – Dec. 31

Tickets //

All Museum events are free and open to the public.

PDF Catalog of Exhibition
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Welcome to the Gallery, please scroll at your leisure. Click images to view in light box gallery. Click artist statement to expand and view a statement from the artist.

DYAN AKKOUCHE

As an artist, I often feel as though I am chasing a fleeting thing. The process is a physical action and the product is static. I seek to capture energy in my pieces like a photo of a controlled demolition or a dance paused in motion. My current body of work has been made since the start of the pandemic. My vessels explore concepts such as collapse, spinning out of control and breaking point. I’m interested in capturing the energy of the moment: the anxiety, the tension, the humble grace. Nothing is smooth or clean, the surfaces froth or crackle. The forms seem to fall apart and hold themselves together at the same time. -Dyan Akkouche

MEGAN ANGOLIA

Utilizing thousand-year-old clay techniques, I create tightly rendered ceramic busts of female portraiture. Blending traditional methods with contemporary content, in this series of sculptures I craft women suspended in unexpectedly relatable mundane moments.

Historically, women are depicted as either accessories to men or objects of desire. For me, everything from doing laundry to irritating a coworker offers inspiration. Pulling from autobiographical experiences serves to showcase daily narratives frequently absent in fine art depictions of the female form. In the moments represented, their reactions distill the emotive by offering an intimate glimpse into a candid exchange. Titles further this connection by expanding on the context, with artwork titles like: He said what about injecting disinfectant?!? What results are animated portraits that concurrently capture the fleeting emotion of the subjects and offer critique on just who portraiture historically favors.  –Megan Angolia

AODAN AODAN

As an artist working mainly with porcelain and embroidery, I strive to explore, redefine and externalize femininity and “femaleness.” With highly detailed and intricate techniques, I endeavor to show the complicated tableaux with aggressiveness, gentleness, fragility, softness, toughness, struggles, emotions and pain within femininity and female gender in delicate and cryptic looks. I stay loyal to the creed that art should be an organic combination abundant with personal metaphors and symbols; art is about experience rather than conversation. If there is a story with an open ending, there should be art totally open to interpretations and feelings.

-Aodan Aodan

JOAN BARON and GLORIA MARTINEZ-GRANADOS

Video of installation available in light box.

Good Trouble Bucket is an emotionally driven performance installation by artists Joan Baron and Gloria Martinez-Granados. This collaboration is rich in its incorporation of organic materials, with an emphasis on clay in its unfired state as well as references to the earth element from which it comes. The work questions the value of man-made constructions intent on dividing us. The breadth of variation on the themes of legal status, violence in America, boundaries, and foods of faith, is thoughtfully calming. This work begs the question, “What can one person do to create change that will improve conditions for all”?

These artists question current laws that are in place to direct one’s moral compass. With this silent performance they offer acts of kindness. Art is their political tool. The hope is that the work will inspire others to “cross the boundaries”…carrying their buckets of solidarity and joining us at the table to help soften the fence.

–Joan Baron and Gloria Martinez-Granados

KENNETH BASKIN

The investigative properties of the Crucible Series are focused upon the idea that through Alchemy we are trying to explain and define the structure, laws and functions of the universe and our place in it. Alchemy is most popularly known for the idea that through extreme heat we can change, transform or convert one substance into another. The crucible is the object that contains the elements as they undergo transformation, making this the main tool of the alchemist and one of the main focuses of my creative research.

The crucible coupled with human curiosity and ingenuity created the industrial revolution leading us to the modern mass-produced world we live in.  Our capacity for invention has become the means for mass production and an accelerant in the performance of human tasks. This interdependence of humans and machines altered cultural conceptions and the two became intimately conjoined.  –Kenneth Baskin

SHANNON BLAKEY

In this recent work, I have been interested in the interplay between human-made objects and nature itself and the push and pull between the two.  In this work specifically, it was my interest to combine water lines from my own home along with fragments from reclaimed chunks of nature in order to show the cyclical order of one action to another.  In creating this work I was interested in processing my own role within the larger whole. It is my hope that the work created is both something visually interesting and texturally compelling; something that would prompt someone to look, but eventually draw them to touch the work and question why certain decisions were made.  –Shannon Blakey

JAKE BOGGS

My work is a reflection of my curiosities, a synthesis of past and present. My process distills topics from the arts, sciences, and humanities, breaks them down into a visual language and imbues these signs onto the surface of volumetric forms. Ceramic artifacts are commonly used to identify past cultures, dating back many thousands of years. After time and the elements erased these ancient peoples from the earth, their ceramics remained, essentially unchanged; without the lasting quality of ceramics humanity would have lost much of its ancestral knowledge. I am drawn to the idea that my work will out-live my own body, my family, my culture, my country, and that the art in the far distant future, will serve as a reminder of this time and place.  –Jake Boggs

JIM BUDDLE

My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose. I went to an Ivy League school. I’m highly educated. I know words. I have the best words, I have the best, but there is no better word than stupid. Right?  I am strong; politicians are weak.  Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser — having a healthy ego, or high opinion of yourself, is a real positive in life!  I was a great student at the best college in the country. You know? I want to let people know. I’m a smart guy.  Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy.  I went from VERY successful businessman, to top TV Star to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius… and a very stable genius at that!  Mike Tyson endorsed me. You know, all the tough guys endorse me. I like that. OK?  I have had tremendous success.  I have a terrific relationship with Xi.  I built the Grand Hyatt right next to Grand Central Station – beautiful, classy job.  -Jim Buddle

SEAN CLUTE

As we engage the world around us, there are moments that will test our character.  I look to capture that honest response where our true personality comes to surface.  To be able to get this response, I surround this figure in a scene that makes them respond in a specific way.  The scene pressures the personality encapsulate the person in this moment in time.  This subsequently reveals what is at the core of that person.  I break down their psychology to project an honest response to the scene.  This gives each character I make an individual piece of myself.  Within my projects, I push myself to expand my reaches of the human form and psyche.  When I make my figures, I look at the diverse range the world offers and reflect that in my work.  Within that comprehension, I am able to project the layers of their innermost self.  This sense of self gives each character their own identity and the burden of the weight their world gives them.   -Sean Clute

JIM CONNELL

I strive for beauty and elegance in my pieces. On my very best days in the studio I get glimpses of it and it keeps me going. It is all about that eternal elusive quest for beauty.  –Jim Connell

J. CASEY DOYLE

As an advocate for gay rights, equality, and myself, I create sociopolitical works that question our relationship to gender roles/stereotypes and sexuality. I create works that explore the ambiguity of materials, scale, and color, and employ repetition as a form of meditation. I am interested in material limitations, the gendering of materials and processes, and the debunking of craft vs. fine art.

The “Bobby Pin” series attempts to make the invisible—visible. A gendered object, a tool for transformation, scaled and reconfigured.  –J. Casey Doyle

JAYMES DUDDING

I studied functional ceramics at the University of New Mexico. This early training as a functional potter is evident in my wheel-thrown and altered pieces.  The shapes and forms in my Goddess Series are versions of the cylinder; bowl or vase. The large dimensions of many of my pieces, removes them from ordinary experience.  Such objects were essential elements of ancient rituals and sacred ceremonies for eons.  Images such as these were integral parts of ritual offerings and sacrifices. They were created to honor and enchant the perceived energy personified by Mother Nature.

I hope the observer can sense the ages-old nonchalance I admire in the work of these ancient artisans:  Consummate skill expressed through intimate knowledge of materials and process.  It is evident that the work was driven by an intuitive sensitivity to form and surface.  Finally, I hope the energy vested in the creation of my sculptures finds a resonance in the viewer’s imagination.  –Jaymes Dudding

JESSICA DUPUIS

Invisible and visible boxes surround us every day, from standards of society and institutions to houses, studios, and offices. Within these structures, individual perceptions and senses vary, just as our memories and attachment to objects differ from one person to another. For me, the physical form of sculpture functions as a journal; architectural spaces that are open for the viewer to explore.

My work evolves from an experimental process in which I use a combination of clay slip and discarded materials such as newspaper, cardboard, and furniture and transform them into art objects.  –Jessica Dupuis

KEVIN EATON

I’ve been a Los Angeles-based graphic design professional for many years. However, my recent work with ceramics has allowed me to rediscover a creative energy that I hadn’t enjoyed since my undergrad days at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Incorporating my love of comic books and science fiction, I create ceramic sculptures that are humorous, thought-provoking, and beautiful. It’s a joyful, toy-like world, filled with futuristic vessels and ruled by the gods who hold sway over its inhabitants.

I couldn’t have done this earlier in life. I’m very much a late-in-life ceramist, and all my life experiences have come together, unexpectedly, to enable my creativity in this medium. I’m both pleased and surprised with the results.

My best friend, a ceramist who died from AIDS years ago, always wanted me to study with him. I was afraid of getting my hands dirty, but now I know that he’s somewhere out there laughing with me… and at me.

–Kevin Eaton

CURTIS FREDERICK

The love of art started at a very young age for me.  As with many young artists, drawing was the first thing I was introduced to and could do well.  It was not until college that I discovered clay.  For me three-dimensional design was something I could create in a fully immersed way.  It is a challenge to make sure that each sculpture engages the viewer from all angles.  Being somewhat of a rebel, I try to push the envelope on the finishes of my clay pieces.

I have found some of my best work comes from the imperfections, unplanned events, and through experimentation.  As I grow as an artist, I know that future is unknown but that is what drives me in this creative journey.  My goal is to continue to challenge myself, to think outside of the box, and to bring something different and innovating to the art world.  –Curtis Fredrick

OVIDIO GIBERGA

This recent work reflects a progression beyond a personal narrative, to engaging larger social and cultural issues in the world. As sculptural vessels, their implied function alludes to metaphorical processes of alchemy or change. There is also a greater emphasis placed on surface and form, an area of research that continues to interest me very much. I have studied extensively on the history and psychology of pattern and imagery. All these elements together form my artistic voice, one of curiosity and concern for our current climate of social and political insecurity. In my Vulnerability series, wheel-thrown porcelain vessels have been partially collapsed, ejecting their contents and giving form to the phenomena of change. As with all my work, the titles are central to the ideas present in the work.  –Ovidio Giberga

EMILY GOMEZ

Women across the globe have been steadily working to unravel the social constructs of the 1950s housewife. Here, we find ourselves emerging from the patriarchy and toxic masculinity responsible for the oppression of women. Although the feminist movement has regressed the oppression of women, we still struggle for things like equal pay, decision making power, and control over life inside and outside of the home. As we push for self-worth, freedom of sexuality, and from constructs of matrimony and domesticity, we strive to set a place for the 21st century woman. This 21st century woman not to be set forth by “The Man”, but by empowered women across the globe. So that gender role reversal and leveling is possible, so that we may explore our sexuality with or without being bound by marriage and domesticity, and more. Here we set forth, the rise of the matriarch, not only in the household, but in politics, the workplace, and every aspect of society.  –Emily Gomez

JACK HALPERN

My ceramic works are all one-of-a-kind, hand-built vessels and sculptures that are contemporary in design while inspired by the natural surface textures and organic beauty I find in ancient archeological ceramic relics. To that end, I embrace textural surfaces and utilize the primitive process of pit/smoke firing to achieve strong, contrasting surface tones that are wonderfully unpredictable. Each work is assembled and constructed of multiple individual hand-built pieces and does not involve any casting or molds.

Additional influences come through the significant works by renown Japanese, Native American and contemporary American ceramic masters.  When these influences combine with the sculptural attributes of my designs, the final result is simple and ageless.

My work is viewed in galleries, museums and private collections across the nation including the permanent collection of the Library of Congress in Washington DC.  –Jack Halpern

SHARON HARPER

I make art to reflect the human condition through my personal narrative.  Presently I am examining my internal ruminations and external situations. The sense of aloneness is a recurring theme in my work that has been thorough deaths of family and friend, thoughts that separate us and now the isolation of fear in a pandemic. – Sharon Harper

REBECCA HARVEY

My recent work has been both project and place based, centered in the orchestration of objects. I work with measure and balance, parts are formed, colored and placed; lines are created between and through shapes. My practice lays a line of abstraction and chance, obscuring common objects to re-illustrate the world. I am currently exploring the border between an object and the space it contains. I dissolve objects, reconstitute them, cover them in layers and rearrange. I have been altering raw bricks, sometimes by suspending them in water. I watch the particles detach, revealing a new sort of structure within. Other times I will hammer an unfired brick, looking at the difference in the shear pattern from its fired cousin. I snap bricks, covering them with a surface that creates tension and heating them until they split. I’ll make a shell, fire it, break it off, refill it and start again.  –Rebecca Harvey

JENNIFER HOLT

By exploiting the fragility and translucency of porcelain, I employ the process of casting on metaphorical terms. To me, a mold creates a memory of an object, picking up the traces of its use and history. Clay has the ability to contain this memory, creating a ghost-like membrane that divides presence from absence.

I cast everyday objects and scenarios in order to investigate their narrative qualities and potential to play off the collective memory of the viewer.  My most recent work utilizes human hand gestures to explore notions of our shared humanity. The installation “Zero Sum Game (Ro Sham Bo)” reflects upon the current political climate in our country, displaying a child-like game that has inevitably lost its innocence. In contrast, the open hands of “Breathe” act as a reminder to be receptive, in order to restore and center our attention back into ourselves- prompting each of us to remember what is of ultimate importance in our lives.  –Jennifer Holt

JOHN HOPKINS

I make sculpture and pottery. When I make pots I mostly work in porcelain. My forms have evolved over the years into shapes that I like to decorate. I use distortions in the wet clay right after throwing, let the clay settle down a little, then use various stamps texture objects with slip-trailing for a fine line. When trimming I will add more texture by using a chattering tool. It is important to me that the applied textures flow around the piece and become part of the pot. Glazing is done at cone 10 with sprayed overlapping glaze. I usually use 4-5 glazes on each pot.    –John Hopkins

KIRA KALONDY

I am interested in the shared traits of procreation, fertility and multiplicity between human beings and nature. These ceramic vessels represent my interaction and observation of nature, and my communication with other individuals. They symbolize a symbiosis between me as a human being and nature, or symbiosis between the feminine and masculine attributes found within myself and within every organism when they are in perfect balance. Through my work I strive to create pieces that speak of life, nature, volume, fluidity, and, at the same time, organic simplicity.  –Kira Kalondy

MEREDITH KNIGHT

My work addresses political and social issues through concept-based work that is consistently well-crafted & thoughtfully planned. Utilizing architectonic grids, systems and structures, the spatial compositions examine how structures facilitate and or prohibit access to opportunity, autonomy and equity. My art promotes restructuring practices in more productive ways.

While my work is often prompted by experience and what I see around me, my ideas are conveyed through a more universal language, allowing the viewer to relate their own ideas and experiences within the framework I create in my art. My work explores social, racial and gender constructs, both critiquing & celebrating a broader context.  –Meredith Knight

ANNA KRUSE

My practice is a phenomenological investigation into our usual modes of participation in the world and with one another. Devices are created that come between you and the external world. I am interested in exploring the notion of reverie, a daydream, that takes us out of this reality. The moments we slip from the present as the view in front of us blurs gently in our mind and we realize the safety in solitude. How do we change ourselves when we are involved with many, versus alone, versus with just one other? These devices aim to create situations of otherworldliness; to intervene and alter usual modes of participation within the world and with one another. The objects obscure recognizable forms, functioning in a way that is often ambiguous, until one filly commits. A playfulness exists in the interactions that is countered by ominous shadows and a distortion of physical presence. The pieces insert themselves within the environment: announcing, revealing, and concealing.  –Anna Kruse

TONY KUKICH

The direction of my current work reflects on my partner’s illness, and the grace she exhibits while in constant pain. I am constantly surprised when I find beauty in the experience. I am simply trying to make beautiful and meaningful objects that explain my feelings and observations. There are some recurring forms in my work; the cube is of particular significance. I often distort, compress and enhance its perspective. A Necker cube is a two-dimensional optical illusion of a wire frame cube providing no clue to its orientation in space. Perceptions and perspectives can change, and things are not always as they seem. I liken this to some things being closer than they appear in your mirror. Simultaneously, some give the illusion of wellness while harboring mortality. –Tony Kukich

BENJAMIN LAMBERT

My hand-built ceramic sculptures take the form of stylized figures and animals that reflect problematic relationship between humans and the natural world. Like monsters, these clay figures often act as a warning, or show some sort of unfamiliar reality through their distortions and abstractions. My work references some visual language used in art historical periods like the 1960’s and 70’s Funk Ceramics movement, as well as some other familiar historical conventions. Frequently, an uncanny and strange sense of humor is used as a hook, inviting an audience to look at something more serious than initially implied by these playfully articulated works.

Current day and historical environmental issues influence the work I make. I grew up on a 14-mile stretch of the Androscoggin River in Maine that currently requires an oxygen bubbler to prevent the fish from suffocating. Because of this, I foster environmental awareness. Having lived in proximity to a river that has been partially revitalized, but is still on life support, inspires me to research global environmental problems and models for solutions. This research guides me to the people involved in environmental conflicts, and ultimately informs the iconography and characters that inhabit my work.   -Benjamin Lambert

JEEEUN LEE

I’ve focused on exploring through sculpture how nature influences my sense of self, which for me feels similar to searching for the fundamental truths of nature. Nature is mysterious. It creates in me a sense of awe for the universe, while urging me to reconsider the meaning of life and to be more self-aware. Water imagery and symbols are intimately linked to human experience such as memory, movement, time and encounters with life and death. They have provided protection, strength and sustenance throughout our evolution and existence, and a magical connection to nature.  –JeeEun Lee

CARRIE LONGLEY

The driving force behind my sculpture is the relationship of science and art. Collections, categories, labels, frames, and display cases are all devices used by science and art to encourage the view to carefully examine precious objects and artifacts. My intention as an artist is to create a playful shifting back and forth between our traditional ideas of a scientific specimen and art object. My work is constructed from a combination of various interests, experiences, and memories, which generate exponential possibilities for continuing my drive as an artist. I am continually inspired and amazed by the germination of a seed, the birth of a baby, and the intricate web of relationships among humans, plants, and animals.  Although my work is laden with personal lived experience, it is my hope that all viewers relate to my work in a way that evokes memory, wonder, and curiosity. My work celebrates this sense of mystery, existing somewhere within the border of illusion and reality.  –Carrie Longley

WADE MACDONALD

The bridge between ceramics and architecture is multifaceted and synergetic. Both address social dilemmas through their aestheticism and utilitarianism. Clay acts as a conduit between past and present notions of material innovation, challenging our concepts of new architectural paradigms. By heightening this correlation through the contextualization of the pedestal or table and the addition of multiple construction materials, a more affable human quality to contemporary architecture emerges. Through the process of research, ideation and practice, I have formed the groundwork for celebrating the human element of contemporary architecture and the vessel and their relationship as common structures or ideas.  –Wade McDonald

ASIA MATHIS

I hand build my ceramic sculpture from stoneware clay, and use engobes, underglazes, stains, and glazes for my surfaces, which I build up over the course of 3-4 firings. My work centers around the human search for authenticity and belonging. The question of modern identity, or where we are truly at home when much of our ancestral culture may have dissolved, has been actively destroyed, or is one in which we do not wish to be a part. The same holds true for the environment and the modern problem of being disconnected from the land, as well as wild creatures, which can create a kind of ‘hole’ in our identity. My work reflects my personal experiences around these issues.  –Asia Mathis

JAMIE McVAY

I am a multidisciplinary artist, whose work is primarily in conversation with gender theory and identity. I work with experimental uses of clay, performance and installation. Working with raw, unfired clay has opened up new possibilities to examine movement, temporality, and tactile response. Through my work, I aspire to examine the constructs formed throughout language and society that work to form the gender binary system. Juxtaposing the human body with grandiose structures, I equate the figure to seemingly established fabrications, posing questions of solidified disposition and governing identities. In my work, both the product and process are a direct response to emotions that I often cannot verbalize, but are an integral part of my identity. The viewer experiences a rendering of my psyche within the detached nature of art viewing, allowing them to process the emotions in the work through their own personal lens.   –Jamie McVay

JOY NAGY

My current series entitled ‘The Golden Door project’ consists of twenty-five language translations of a stanza of The New Colossus, written in 1883, by Emma Lazarus. Each translation, provided by a friend or acquaintance, represents the richness of America’s immigrant community. Each inch slip casted porcelain sheet is crumpled to signify the arduous and difficult journey of the American immigrant. Their words on porcelain echo the fragility of our times. Each translation penned respectfully to honor the heritage of the contributors. ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Send these homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.’

The inspiration for this body of work comes from thoughts of my grandmother who as a lone teenager immigrated from Hungary. I wondered who might have translated Emma Lazarus’ poem to my grandmother as her passenger ship entered New York Harbor.  –Joy Nagy

CARRIE ANNE PARKS

My work reflects an ongoing interest in historical ceramic forms – tiles, teapots, and figures. In my drawings and ceramic sculptures, I also explore contemporary themes through personal, often autobiographical, imagery.

The elements of traditional teapot design – spouts, lids, handles, and feet are incorporated into the gestures, costumes, and coifs of my figurative teapots in ways that are sometimes metaphorical, often humorous. In this series of Women Artists Teapots, I have combined portraits of the artists with aspects of their artwork in ways that honor the artists’ own representations of themselves as professionals in their fields. –Carrie Anne Parks

CHRISTOPHER PAYNE

My sculptures are formed from the dust of the ground, from clay. But, alas, without any holy breath. They are made just with the investment of many hours, and with an original idea that was lost well along the way, barely to be heard from again. Trial and error is the rule.

The reward is in what happens along the trial. When the clay tells you what it wants, your preferences be damned. The fun begins when you realize you are on the other end of the leash.

I grew up playing in creeks, catching crawfish, digging for pottery shards and arrowheads, and playing with this miracle substance, the plastic gray clay one would find in the creek bends. I’m happy to be able to extend that formative education, the childhood clay adventures, through today.  –Christopher Payne

JOANN QUINONES

I am inspired by the figure of the Topsy-Turvy doll, a uniquely “American” cultural artifact. Traditionally comprised of one white female torso joined at the waist to a Black female torso, the object only revealed its nature by turning the doll upside down or flipping its skirts over the head. These dolls reflected the complex dynamics of race relations in the 19th Century and leave unanswered questions: Do they represent the fear and reality of racial mixing and mixed-race bodies? Do they point to the interconnectedness and codependence of Black and white women, or do they highlight power structures that limit both?

In my work, I use the figure of the Topsy-Turvy doll as a way to explore a queer, Afro-Latinx identity and history.  I often incorporate objects associated with the home in order to ask the viewer to think about how narratives of the domestic are complicated by a history of slavery and colonization in the U.S and Caribbean. – Joann Quinones

JENNY REED

My work memorializes seemingly insignificant moments through whimsical representations of the domestic space. I am interested in bringing domestic scenes and objects out of the domestic habitat in order to make the ordinary spectacular. Through this process, I am able to reflect on my understanding of myself and my surroundings, what provides comfort and joy, and what makes me feel unimpressive or lowly.

My use of craft based processes allow for conceptual connotations that relate to time, record, manual labor, low brow, and the domestic. I incorporate absurd humor and rely on abstraction to depict a playful mood that can entice viewers. The mundane can exemplify the dullness in routine, yet it can also provide an opportunity to become conscious of one’s own autonomy in a specific time and space. It can feel mundane or boring or pointless, yet I am inclined to strive for admiration and to discover joy in my retreat.  –Jenny Reed

JESSE RING

I approach the studio as research space to render cultural objects through observation, touch, and digital methods. Haptic materials like clay are used for their uniquely responsive qualities; they allow me to form with nuance in a spectrum from accurate depiction to expressive interpretation. Presenting these contrasting visual qualities allows control of the context and cadence of an object’s sculptural presence.

The process of material transmutation that is paramount to ceramic processes is applied as a broader ideology to my cross disciplinary practice. It is a process that uses force and formulation to shift a material through possibly endless compositions and meanings, just like language. It places conceptual importance on materiality and the methods used to form material.

For me, this approach to sculpting objects reveals that forming material is a means of understanding, and communicating, an idea that is fast and slow and tangible.  –Jesse Ring

TAYLOR ROBENALT

Storytelling has been a part of our culture since the beginning of human existence, from the cave paintings of Lascaux and the fertility figure of Venus of Willendorf.  I, in my own way, want to be a part of this storytelling by making porcelain sculptures that explore the figure, flora and fauna.  I create narratives using personal experience combined with animal interactions and semiotics.

I have chosen porcelain because it is a beautiful pure material. I often leave it in its raw state, which has a skin like quality. Most of the imagery that I utilize has specific meaning that relates to my personal emotions and creates a narrative: dogs represent loyalty and unconditional love, birds represent vibrancy and freedom, swans represent purity, and bunnies, fertility. Flowers represent the cycle life and rebirth. I view the work as a metaphor for how life is always transforming itself – constantly bringing forth a new chapter of unforeseen existence.   –Taylor Robenalt

KAREN RODERICK-LINGEMAN

While participating in the construction of a 3D ceramic printer, it was noted that other than preparing the clay, the completed pieces were being created without touching the clay.  The touch, feel, and smell of the clay are hugely important to me as a ceramic artist.

The possibilities of clay printing are amazing. The experience of making the tool and then subverting the tool to the point of removing most of the tool, gives me the creative and physical experience I desire. – Karen Roderick-Lingeman

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ

Through the creation of guardian figures, tomb sculptures, and shrines, I depict my community current and forthcoming. I hope to bring these objects—ancient relics that transcend time—into the present. They carry hope and loss, acceptance and challenge, ornament and simplicity.

I love decoration!  I enjoy how heavy decoration can seem parasitic, yet it beckons to be adored and looked at. Decoration adds a layer of stimulation to an object. It’s intended to give pleasure. The more intently you look, the more rewarding it will be.

I am Mexican-American and feel proud of that identity. My recent works have confronted my anxieties and beliefs as they relate to my identity in the current political climate. Through my art, I explore and promote inclusivity and unity by representing and celebrating groups on the precipice of hatred, threat, and increasingly marginalizing political discourse. My identity has placed me in the center of many of these discussions. – George Rodriguez

JENNIFER ROSSETTER

With a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design and an emphasis in Illustration, I worked as a graphic designer, art director, and business owner for the past 25 years. Fast forward to a pottery throwing class where all of my design and illustration background spilled onto my clay and fostered a love of this 3-D expression.

Developing my voice has been intuitive and a narrative of my surroundings. My ceramic work is informed by my love of graphic design and illustration. Animals and birds appear prominently in my ceramic art and reflect many wildlife encounters both at home and traveling. I employ a variety of methods to create imagery on clay, including sgrafitto and traditional printmaking techniques adapted for my own purposes.

There is no greater compliment for me than to evoke an emotional reaction from my collector. My goal is to send each collector away with an extra bit of beauty that will forever reside in their home.  –Jennifer Rosseter

KAZUMA SAMBE

In this society with saturated information and multiculturalism, we rarely accept reality that is sometimes painful and strict, and taste superficial sweet flavors based upon our own comfort. My art is created through cooking a culture as the main food material. It is seasoned with my Japanese cultural black humor, such as island psychology, an illusion of democracy and self-torment. Such intense seasoning would make a dish horrible nutritionally, yet oddly attractive to my tongue. I also add a bitter taste, indicating the flatness of our consumer culture through my art, so the customer knows that we are all dreaming in a bed of sugar no matter how we believe in the reality. It brings us distress anxiety and so on, but all such feelings are our happiness as consumers. Knowing that we are floating in sweetness and high-fructose syrup is a medicine that embitters. I hope all of us can even out the bitterness.  –Kazuma Sambe

SUZANNE SIDEBOTTOM

Is it real, or is it a trick of the eye?

To a casual observer, my sculptures appear real – a toppled cardboard box overflowing with everyday trash – a crossword puzzle, newspaper clippings, paintbrushes, a book or even old nails. In reality, it’s a still-life sculpture created from porcelain slabs that are manipulated, molded, and printed upon. When touched, you feel three delicate layers of clay slab making up corrugated cardboard, printed paper created using handmade antique stamps and color applied with clay underglazes.

Trompe l’oeil is an art of illusion, a game artists play with viewers to raise questions about the nature of art and perception. The challenge of making clay objects appear real forces me to question how to make the viewer believe the artwork is real when they are only made of clay. I want the viewer to interact with my pieces – touch them, feel them, take a second glance.

What you feel when you view my sculptures is not what you see… “It’s clay”.    -Suzanne Sidebottom

JESSICA SMITH

Each sculpture is made up of many press-molded clay gummy bears that are assembled into a tessellating composite. Mold-making is my effort to celebrate systems of mass-production while recognizing the tender reality that each cast offers slight fluctuations. Ultimately, there is an erosion of the original mold because a mold breaks down the more it is used. These sculptural forms speak toward obsessive compulsion and the comfort of smallness. Movement, chance, and rhythm are concerns explored during the fabrication state. Ceramics is a material that effectively captures and responds to an environment. Strong air circulation in the studio can result in my sculptures drying with a torque to them. Likewise, all parts and pieces must exist in the equally same hydrated, humid state or else cracking will develop. Permanence is only achieved in the kiln firing as the sculpture finally becomes static matter.  –Jessica Smith

JASON STARIN

Utilizing ceramics, discarded objects, and construction materials to make works, my art practice attempts to find connections between craft, escapism, and emotional awareness. It is an investigation of fantasy and formal aesthetics with consideration to how those perspectives may relate to privilege and trauma. Through the development of research, drawings, and sculptures, my works reference geomythology, as well as sci-fi and fantasy settings, figures, and imagery.   –Jason Starin

MERIEL STERN

This work is concerned with the processes of composition, transformation and decomposition common to all living things. I am interested in the morphology of the natural world and its relationship to the narrative of human experience. Cotton is crocheted into shapes derived from both material and technique, and the close study of natural, fertile forms including seeds, fruits and pods, diatoms, animal organs and body parts. These soft crocheted sculptures are further transformed into rigid structures after soaking in porcelain casting slip and then firing. This leaves a vitreous “relic” of its past, much like coral is a skeleton of the living creature that once grew under the sea. The patina created by the application of stains, repeated sanding and painting with graphite powder or chalky paint is used to enhance the texture and evoke a feeling of mystery. I have developed a personal iconography of shapes, which are then arranged on the wall to connote scientific and narrative association.  –Meriel Stern

KOURTNEY STONE

My mixed media sculptures are incarnate questions, a site for wondering. They examine the psychology of memory, perception, and the passage of time through the lens my familial relationships. The information, figures, and objects are presented with differing levels of clarity. Ceramic forms and found objects refer to the past while being rooted in our present space. The undeniable physical forms echo the firm conviction we confer on our memories.  However, those memories are mutable, and I wonder about the implications of that fact. Materials with different levels of translucency, such as wax and glass, are layered to obscure, preserve, or change information. Much like in our memories, specific details in the sculptures emerge with clarity, while others fade into the haze of forgotten synapses. Through the composition of these elements, I contemplate our constructions of the past and present: family mythologies, autobiographical narratives, and impressions of current relationships.  –Kourtney Stone

SUZANNE STORER

Suzanne fell in love with clay rising on the potter’s wheel in high school. And then she grew to love drawing the human figure at the California College of the Arts, earning her BFA in 1971. Her sculpture combines both these aspects as she draws with the brush on her 3-dimensional forms.  Working this way she can best present the human condition as she sees it.

Suzanne has found that the oh-so-human qualities of a person reside in their uniqueness. For that reason each of her sculptures bears a strong physical and/or psychological likeness to the person depicted. “Homeless in Liberty Park” is a close likeness.

Eminent sculptor, Eugene Daub, stated in “Sculpture Review” that Suzanne is breaking new ground in the historically rich genre of sculpture in relief. Upon seeing “Alec, My Son” at NCECA’s “Ecumene: Global Interface in American Ceramics” in Santa Fe, Mark Del Vecchio, author of Postmodern Ceramics, told Suzanne that he knows of no one making relief sculpture any finer than hers.  –Suzanne Storer

CAROLYN STUPIN

Sometimes a photograph can catch, in a single moment, a person’s world and the dignity with which that person deals with that world.  I study photographs from all over the world – photographs of refugees, of villagers, of people at work, of people contemplating their circumstances.  I study their postures, their expressions, the way they hold their heads, hoping to learn something from them in the moment of that photograph.  These clay sculptures are my effort to translate their humanity, attempting to give my understanding of what humanness is.

So why African and African American? I don’t know. I do know that I used to make the noses on my sculptures way too large. So I made a sculpture of a Mayan with one of those beautiful huge arched noses.  And after him, on the subject of noses, I made an African. And another African. I went on to Chinese, but returned to African. I tried American Indian and Mexican, but then went back to African. I think, in part, I like the structure of the African faces. I think I find they hold emotion in their faces so well.   -Carolyn Stupin

RJ STURGESS

By creating unusual, awkward relationships between biomorphic ceramic forms and fragmented elements of domestic space, I conjure The Uncanny, The Unsettling, and The Incomprehensible to provoke feelings of discomfort. This discomfort echoes difficult moments in my family’s history and explores the lingering effects of those moments. My sculptures ask for investigation through unexpected elements like faux fur, hair, rolls, or crevices. These bodily references are a vital component to my work because I consider the forms to be representations of myself; they are metaphors for my inner emotions, and their blobby, structureless forms recreate my amorphous emotional state, my everchanging level of anxiety. Decisions about form, surface treatment, color, and space highlight the awkwardness of each piece and the sculptures trigger awareness of viewers’ own level of comfort. This space between mild irritation and the experience of the uncanny creates a relationship seemingly at odds with itself.  -RJ Sturgess

TABATHA TROLLI

I am drawn to the connections made between the physical body and the sculptural object. I am concerned with the viewer’s feelings, and those that the sculptures portray, along with my own subjective position. Many of the works are physical representations of the emotional self, which is highly influenced by my own corporality – or my physiological occupancy. I see this as a term that encompasses the way I exist in my environment, with objects, and with the people in those spaces. Sex and sexuality directly relate to this occupancy, as does sensuality of touch and form. The works are trophies or idols to worship. They are memories to show off, forming a loop and reinforcing this physiological occupancy, validating myself and self-worth. Throughout the work I am alluding to those parts of the body that ask to be touched. The work transforms into a grouping of objects that maintain exude a poly-sexual sentiment, and inclusion of any and all as partners, lovers and friends.  – Tabatha Trolli

WILL VAN DYKE

I am a ceramic artist who has an abiding interest and delight in the visual, whether it is wooden barns, corn cribs, steel bridges, ceramic bowls, concrete silos or a rusted piece of metal in the street that catches his eye as he walks to work.

Most recently I have incorporated water tower, corn crib and grain elevator sculptures into my ceramic work, echoing my delight in these urban and rural structures, many of which are being lost forever, as corn cribs collapse under their own weight after years of neglect, and water towers, especially in Chicago, which are eliminated as the buildings they stood on are demolished to make way for new, taller buildings.  –Will Van Dyke

ANNA WAGNER

My work interprets the effects of taking Adderall and stems from the perspective of someone dealing with ADD/ADHD. The objects are referential of utilitarian functional forms to imply my personal struggles with medications that restrained my appetite. The loose and colorful shapes contrast against the monochrome realism of the portraits. Inspired by the aesthetic styles of comic books and cartoons, the translation results in bright colorful objects that seem to vibrate and hum with potential energy. Much of the forms are from pieced together shapes sometimes making no sense as separate parts, but finding their place as supports, feet, lids, or additions. This can be said as well for anyone with invisible mental disabilities, finding their place and support in a community with similar challenges. If the vessels are used in a utilitarian sense, the imagery or discussion with these portraits would be disrupted. Therefore, the function of these vessels is not a physical interaction, but rather used as an esthetic to discuss the absence of a desire for food while taking Adderall. Some of the portraits chosen are of those who have felt ‘othered’ in environments they were expected to perform. The work is physically structured and presented of individuals who need a voice, filling the empty forms with stories, each one echoing my own.   -Anna Wagner

CASEY WHITTIER

My work is often born from one of the following experiences: an indescribable feeling of excitement; a nagging contradiction of desire; a need to share something that I cannot yet explain; an obsession; a question or series of questions; a desire to respond to or reflect on a thought, feeling, or event; the recognition of something poignant or absurd; the experience of misunderstanding.

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to cast-off objects and quiet spaces, to the things stuck in the corner, at the bottom of the pile. Objects aid us in our humanity: they enhance our existing abilities, offer new opportunities, communicate values, serve as cultural symbols. These inconspicuous objects — perpetrators of the mundane, of wonder, of mystery — are my starting point.  –Casey Whittier

EMMA WILSON

Through a surreal series of humanoid sculptures, these pieces delve into the intersection between the complexities of human behavior, posthumanism, and the philosophical concept of absurdism by depicting a new human species made out of unnaturally large fingers and fleshy masses. Fingers represent a universal human desire for communication, physical contact, and understanding. Given the current pandemic and those to come, we may need to explore the potential for meaningful social contact in a physically distanced world. Thus, the importance of fingers as a metaphor in my work especially now. They relate to one of our strongest senses: touch. A sense that by no means is exclusively human, but remains a defining factor in our humanity. Fingers become a vessel to create visually ridiculous characters out of something that is ubiquitous to humans and I use that absurdity to explore the more abstract qualities of humanity, such as the extreme absurdity of our existence.  – Emma Wilson

NICOLE WOODARD

My work explores theories of being, identity, memory, and dreams. Through introspection, research, and making, I navigate personal and fictional narratives to investigate our mode of existence and how it can be explored from within. Using ceramic and mixed media, I create representations of the fragmented human figures and bed forms. Material manipulation and transformation as well as layering two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms allow the work to extend and contract in space, bringing awareness to the viewer’s experience of perception and cognition. What you see is now what you get.  –Nicole Woodard

KARA ZUPANCIC

Every woman that is forged in my creative consciousness is an Empress, it is an extension of me. I am an empress, a powerful feminine being.  I am strong, when I am not strong, I am still strong. I am air, I am water, I am earth, cast in fire.

My sculptures represent my connection to spirit and body, narrating my female experience. Exaggerating feminine characteristics, pushes the viewer to look beyond the societal beauty norms and reflect on the emotions being expressed. Adorned with purposefully chosen animals to symbolize each respective time in my life, I ask my viewers to lean in on initial impressions in order to dissect the submerged narrative that is present. These three figures represent my past, my present and my future.  –Kara Zupancic

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About the Museum of Art

Our mission is to enrich the educational and cultural experience of the university and Hattiesburg community; while at the same time serving as an educational platform for students of the Art & Design program.

The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art was established in 1997 by The Mississippi Institute of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, as an expansion of the C.W. Woods Gallery founded in 1977.

In 2014, the Art & Design program and the Museum of Art moved to a new location in the historic George Hurst Building on Southern Drive. The newly completed Gallery of Art & Design, a 2000 sq.ft. contemporary art gallery in George Hurst, is now the primary exhibition space for the Art & Design program and Museum of Art exhibitions and events.

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