Though the Visual Arts Center’s displays in the past year have ranged from Korean graphic art to environmentally-conscious textile pieces about animals, the VAC’s latest exhibit, “Figures and Forms,” comes straight from Mississippi State University.

From now until March 29, members of the Starkville community can view the works of 19 staff members from the MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design at the VAC, located at 808 University Drive. The exhibit features many artistic mediums and includes paintings, sculptures, photography, graphic design and fiber art. 

Lori Neuenfeldt, gallery director, said the exhibit displays the diverse range of talent that fills the department. 

“It shows how different our professors are as artists,” she said. “There are so many different styles, abstract and realistic, and so many different forms of art.”  

Though the exhibit is an opportunity for the Starkville and MSU community to study the creativity of MSU professors, the gallery also provides a learning opportunity for students.  

Jamie Mixon, interim department head and coordinator of the graphic design concentration program, said this exhibit promises to incite and intrigue both art students and students from other disciplines, as the show offers a glimpse into the professional work of professors.  

“Often students don’t know much about their own professors’ creative work. The work represented in the show always renews respect and inspires awe,” she said. “Visitors to the gallery will see the diverse styles of the artists. The works range from representational images depicting figures and portraits to explorations of abstract forms, colors, text and shapes,” she said. 

Mixon specializes in graphic design, particularly in concert posters. Her work has been featured in the Verizon Wireless Arena in Little Rock, Ark., and her poster for Pink’s “The Truth About Love” tour won an award of excellence from “Communication Arts,” a professional creative journal. Her work for DelFest at Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern is currently on display in store windows in downtown Starkville and on campus. 

Jude Landry, assistant professor of art, and Marita Gootee, professor of art, have  also had works featured in juried exhibitions. Landry designed a United States T-shirt print that is on display as a wood cut in the gallery, and Gootee’s “DollarTree Rex” was featured in the Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, Ore.

The show aims to aesthetically please as well as intellectually stimulate its visitors.  Neil Callender, assistant professor of art and foundation program coordinator, said the work in the gallery also promises to stir up a well of emotions and provide a moving experience.

 “As with all art exhibitions, people should be open to what they are seeing, aware of what moves them emotionally and courageous enough to ask questions,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

The works will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday until Friday and from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The gallery provides an opportunity for students within the MSU art department, as well as those who are intrigued by the creative experience, to discover more about the professors guiding young future Mississippi artists.

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