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Program on Glennray Tutor, ‘Glennray Tutor Reflections,’ to run on MPB

By Allen Boyer

Hotty Toddy Book Editor

Friday night, November 17, 2023, at 7:30 p.m., a program on Glennray Tutor, “Glennray Tutor
Reflections,” will run on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The program will repeat on Sunday,
November 19, at 5:30 p.m., and on Thanksgiving afternoon, Thursday, November 23, at 2:00
p.m.

“Glennray Tutor Reflections,” produced by Oxford artist and graphic designer Deborah Freeland, is a documentary about Tutor, a painter known for his inventions and visual tricks. Photo from Briscoe Studio

One of Mississippi’s hardest-working and most celebrated artists, Glennray Tutor – also one of
Oxford’s best-known residents – is profiled in a television feature to be broadcast this weekend
by Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

“Glennray Tutor Reflections,” produced by Oxford artist and graphic designer Deborah Freeland, is a clever documentary about a painter known for his inventions and visual tricks. A 30-minute feature, its title is a pun: Tutor’s artwork is known for its reflections, glints, and jokes. He paints marbles, comic book panels – and firecrackers. Tutor has said the fireworks stand for life, death, and resurrection: “When the fuses are lit, everything changes.”

Another Oxford personality figures in the program: Barry Hannah, the late novelist and man-about-town, a legendary and outsized personality. Hannah and Tutor spoke at a joint event at Off Square Books, in December 2009, an evening excerpted in Freeland’s film.

Tutor is an artist and Hannah was a writer, but they agreed that they were working the same style, Deep Pop. That makes sense, with Tutor’s bright colorful explosions of larger-than-life objects, and Hannah’s over-the-top characters and settings. Tutor did the cover art for novels that Hannah wrote. (Some collectors have bought the books just for the artwork.)

In his paintings of the Square, Tutor lavishes less attention on the buildings than on their reflections in the windows of parked cars. Fittingly, Freeland films Tutor driving, at night, on South Lamar and the Square. The portrait is a close-up, the subject and the landscape are familiar, but there may be something different about the light.

Freeland mastered flying a drone to get a fresh angle on her subject. From a distant view, she zooms in on Tutor’s studio. That also signals something. With new images and a long look back, Freeland makes us look again at paintings we realize we have often noticed but never quite really seen before.

“Glennray Tutor Reflections,” a film by Deborah Freeland, will be televised by Mississippi Public
Broadcasting on Friday night, November 17, at 7:30 p.m., and repeats on Sunday, November 19,
at 5:30 p.m., and Thanksgiving afternoon, Thursday, November 23, at 2:00 p.m.

The film can also be watched online at mpbonline.org.


Allen Boyer is the book editor for HottyToddy.com

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