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Marie Hull’s ‘Master of Color and Form’ Opens at UM Museum

Sail Shapes," a 1964 painting by Marie Hill, is part of the exhibition at the University Museum.
Sail Shapes,” a 1964 painting by Marie Hill, is part of the exhibition at the University Museum.

The walls of the Speakers Gallery at the University of Mississippi Museum are awash this spring with vivid color, light and texture, all hallmarks of influential Mississippi artist Marie Hull’s work.

“Marie Hull: Mastery of Color and Form,” which runs through June 11, includes 12 of Hull’s paintings and drawings. The museum will celebrate the exhibition with a reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday (April 14), featuring a book-signing by Bruce Levingston, the university’s Honors College Artist in Residence. Free and open to the public, the event will include refreshments and a Marie Hull signature cocktail.

The exhibit, a branch of the original “Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull” exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art, features more of Hull’s collection at Ole Miss, as well as five paintings from the Mississippi Museum of Art.

“‘Marie Hull: Mastery of Color and Form’ highlights different media and genres Marie Hull experimented with over her decades as an artist,” said Marti Funke, University Museum collections manager. “This exhibition illustrates specific times in her life, her world travels and her evolution as one of Mississippi’s most loved and talented artists.”

Born in Summit in 1890, Hull had a deep interest in art, though no classes were available in Mississippi as she grew up. After receiving a degree in music from Bellhaven College in 1909, she began studying art in Jackson under painter Aileen Phillips. Phillips encouraged Hull to enroll in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and she did.

She returned to Jackson after a year to teach art before traveling the country to study landscapes and acquire more inspiration for her work. Hull received much recognition for her work, including a Mississippi Art Association Gold Medal in 1920 and the Katherine Bellaman Prize in 1965.

Hull painted continuously throughout her life and was still painting until a few weeks before her death in 1980. Gov. William Waller designated Oct. 22, 1975 as “Marie Hull Day” throughout the state.

Levingston, who helped curate and coordinate this exhibit, has long admired and collected the artist’s work. He wrote “Bright Fields, The Mastery of Marie Hull” (University Press of Mississippi, 2015), a comprehensive exploration of her life and work. It features more than 200 photos of Hull’s paintings, some of them never publicly exhibited.

“It is a great honor and privilege to be able to participate in this beautiful exhibition of Hull’s works at the University Museum,” Levingston said. “Marie Hull was an enlightened, visionary painter who reflected the lives and spirit of Mississippi and its people with passion, integrity and depth.”

The pianist and author will attend the reception and sign copies of his book.

“We are excited to have acclaimed pianist and artist in-residence, Bruce Levingston, in the museum for the opening reception of ‘Marie Hull: Mastery of Color and Form,'” said Rebecca Phillips, the museum’s communications coordinator. “Bruce’s knowledge and passion of Hull’s artwork adds a unique element to our event.”

University Museum, at the intersection of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information on upcoming exhibitions and events, visit http://www.museum.olemiss.edu and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Courtesy of Christina Steube and the Ole Miss News Desk

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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