By Clara Turnage
Two University of Mississippi art professors have work featured in the Mississippi Museum of Art’s biennial Mississippi Invitational exhibit.
The Mississippi Invitational exhibit, on display from June 10 through Sept. 17, highlights 15 contemporary artists from around the state through the theme of “Gulfs Among Us.”
The university’s Brooke White, professor of imaging arts, and Kariann Fuqua, instructional assistant professor of art, are among the artists.
“I continue to be excited and inspired by the artists in our state,” said Betsy Bradley, the museum’s director. “The 2023 Mississippi Invitational, the 13th iteration of this exhibition series, will bring audiences together across our many divides. We are grateful to these artists to allow our community to feel more connected to each other.”
Bradley and Katie Pfohl, associate curator of contemporary art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, chose the art and artists for the exhibit.
Fuqua, who is also director of museum studies at Ole Miss, combines drawing and mark-making with nature photography to create images that blur the line between chaos and control. Fuqua created three new art pieces – each 8 feet tall – for the exhibition.
“My work is largely about grief and issues related to climate change,” Fuqua said. “So, through an environmental lens, I research the invisible structures and networks that make biological life function.
“There is a careful balance required for life in all forms to flourish and thrive. We are at a point in our lives and the state of the natural world where that balance is coming undone. It’s unraveling at a very quick pace.”
White, whose work has been selected for four Mississippi Invitational exhibits, uses photography and film to create illustrations of place, space and nature.
White’s piece for the 2023 exhibit, “Water Breath” is video art showing the rise and fall of tides along different coastlines along the United States and Canada. The piece, which is silent, is intended to encourage viewers to look inward at their own rhythm of breathing and how it aligns, or does not align, with “Water Breath,” White said.
“I would hope that people are lulled into a very quiet space where they’re really able to contemplate the water and that natural space,” she said. “We live in a time when we’re really distracted by a plethora of things. I hope this video creates a moment for people to rest and get caught up in the flow of the water.”
“Water Breath,” like Fuqua’s pieces, also relates to climate change and humanity’s role in shifts in the natural world. White’s focus is on the rising water levels across multiple places that are endangering ecosystems and daily life, she said.
Both artists said they are honored for their work to be included in the Mississippi Invitational exhibit.
“I was extremely excited when I heard the news,” Fuqua said. “People generally see the end product of what artists make, but rarely know all the research and work that goes into the process of creating.”