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cover image is a portion of 'Untitled' 2015 / G E Dixon

A look back on the past two decades through the Art and life experiences of Mississippi Artists​.

Artists were asked to submit art created between 2000 to the present, accompanied by a personal experience from the artist. The exhibition is separated into years ranging from 2000-2020. The timeline features stories from each year accompanied by art paired by the artist. Besides the artists' own life experiences and what they were willing to share, there was no topic requirement. We understand how hard it can be to write, so we wanted to offer an audio/video option for the artists to submit their stories. We feel this provides another opportunity to strengthen the bond between artist, viewer, and art. ​

Our goal to continually nurture the connection between the Contemporary Mississippi Artist and the public viewer by providing opportunities to discover their work and personalities. ​

2000

- Lana Lancaster Pugh

2000 - 2020

I studied photography in college and struggled to find my voice until I found documentary style photography. I loved Mississippi, and I loved learning about rural Mississippi history, so photography seemed the perfect way to document my unique little corner of the world. So many times in college and even now, I will take photographs of something, more especially the rural imagery that I love and want to share, and hear over and over how the viewer has never heard of a particular place and knew nothing of the history of that particular building or location. I've continued to document the things that interest me and started writing about them in 2012. There's only so much a photograph can tell you, and I'm not always there to tell the viewer what is going on or what the significate of that place is, but in writing, I can. I started out as a blogger, and now I write on my own domain at www.lanalpugh.com. I also share my photography on Instagram at @lanalpugh.

Forgotten Salem / 12 in x 20 in / digital photography 2015 ​/ $150

- Adele Elliott

2000

​I have done a series of Mardi Gras royalty on paintbrushes, “Brushes with Royalty.” This king is from the Krewe of Oshun, an African-American carnival krewe. It is a new organization that has both men and women in the club. (Originally, krewes were men only)

KING OF OSHUN / 4 in x 10 in / oil on brush, assemblage 2020 / ​$150

- Rick Harrison

2000

​​The year 2000 marked the sixteenth year since my father’s death. I wanted to do a piece that captured something about the person who influenced and encouraged me more than anyone. He was a strong and vital man until suddenly he was stricken by an autoimmune disease that rather quickly ended his life.

Infestation / 11 in x 9 in / bronze 2000 / NFS

2005

- Don Jacobs

2005

In late 2004 I had the good fortune to be asked if I might be interested in doing a mural in the Mississippi Governor’s mansion. Without a moment’s hesitation, my answer was an immediate, resounding YES. The art director in charge of renovations at the Governor’s mansion had seen a monochromatic mural I’d done and wanted something similar. Originally, she’d been thinking in terms of a few trees, but as the project evolved, it turned into a full landscape of the state’s 5 individual geographic sections. With all my enthusiasm, the day finally came to begin, and as I walked into the room and saw those large blank walls, my first thought was, “What was I thinking when I said I could do this?!?!”. It was suddenly more than a little intimidating, but with elbow grease and perseverance, it slowly began to take shape, and 5 months later, I put on the final touches. Working in the Governor’s mansion was one of the more enjoyable and satisfying working experiences I’ve had. Represented here are the Hill Country, the Piney Woods region, and the Gulf Coast.

Mural at the Governor's Mansion / 2005

- Adele Elliott

2005

My husband and I lost everything in Hurricane Katrina – our home, our business, and most of my sanity. When there is a storm in the Gulf, we are told to buy water, board up the windows, have flashlights and batteries. When it is a brutal storm, we are told to evacuate. These are weak attempts to battle the elements. We all know, when it is man against nature, man always loses. We may as well face the angry wind, dancing naked with a flimsy umbrella on our head. There is no protection.

WAITING FOR KATRINA / 20 in x 20 in / oil on canvas 2020 / $500

- Robert Brzuszek

2005

“Dig me some Mississippi hill country blues played loudly and RL Burnside is a legendary hero of mine. After he went to the great juke joint in the sky I honored his album by imagining him commanding the joint with all the power and fury of his belly rubbing guitar.”

A Bothered Mind / 12 in x 12 in / mixed media on album cover 2008 / NFS

- Mary Hardy

2005

I was influenced by memories of seeing belongings left in abandoned homes after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Not “JUST” things, as some were heard to say, but personal remnants of lives lived.

Just Sitting There / 21 in x 17 in / mixed media on paper 2016 / $700

- Samantha Shannon Rodriguez

2005

I never quite fit in where I was born and raised in Alabama. I was out of step with nearly everyone I encountered and never felt part of the world around me. I came to Mississippi in my late teens around 2005, moving to my father's childhood home on the edge of the De Soto forest. Through the kitchen window, I would watch deer stand on their hind legs to plunder fruit from a huge pear tree my grandfather had planted decades ago. Turkey would wander the wood line, and rabbits invaded the garden at dusk and dawn. I fell in love with that place, and after a few years in coastal towns and cities, my husband and I returned to the woods and built our home on a small creek untouched by people for ages. Most of the art I make is inspired by the surrounding woods that have enveloped me and made me feel truly at home.

Bee Sting / 11 in / slip cast porcelain from hand sculpted master 2019 / NFS

2006

- Mary Hardy

2006

When the house we grew up in was sold, I walked the property to remember…I discovered a lone flower all dried up, still standing there frail yet elegant, holding ground.

Fragile Beauty / 39 in x 31 in / mixed media on paper 2018 / $1800

2008

- Mary Hardy

2008

We never had “bought” blankets; my grandmother made quilts. I adored being wrapped in the pattern and color. When choosing one for our beds, I always claimed “the one with flowers on it”! I inherited several, some of which were ragged pieces that have taken on a new life in my paintings dealing with past and present, surface and depth, atmosphere, memory, and dreams.

The One With Flowers On It / 49 in x 37 in / mixed media with fabric on paper mounted on canvas 2017 / $2800

- Mary Hardy

2008

When given some old family quilts, I was told about the people who wore the garments used in the quilt's piecing. Some areas were torn, and through those holes could be seen another layer of fabric. Sometimes there would be several layers revealed. This prompted a series of mixed media paintings for me, exploring metaphors of layers and depth.

Stitched Inside / 49 in x 37 in / mixed media on paper mounted on canvas 2016 / $2800

2011

- Elaine Maisel

2011

Pickle Pirates / 8 in x 8 in / photography 2015 / prints available

- Martha Ferris

2011

The McRae's Children's Fountain, two mosaic splash pools in the Mississippi Museum of Art's garden, was a public art project that grew out of the vision of museum director Betsy Bradley and architect Madge Bemiss. Their idea was to transform the museum’s vast ugly parking lot into an art garden where people in downtown Jackson could gather for outdoor events and enjoy installations created by Mississippi artists in a setting that reversed the Joanie Mitchell song by unpaving a parking lot and creating a paradise. Working on the project was a huge challenge for me that involved lots of research and collaboration, anxiety and delight. The two fountains cover more than 500 square feet and employ light, water, high powered pumps, brightly colored mosaics and advanced computer technology to create a work of art that doubles as a children's play space. My design for the Children's Fountain was inspired by the flora and fauna of the Mississippi pond next to my home, a place rich with all kinds of life, including frogs and turtles, snakes and alligators. I wanted to create an installation that would be inviting to young and old, whose design would shine even when the water wasn’t running. At the party celebrating the opening of the fountains in 2011, as children of all ages played and splashed in the pools, I felt that Madge Bemiss and Betsy Bradley’s vision had been fully realized at last.

McRae’s Children’s Fountain Mississippi Museum of Art / 2011

2012

- Madeline Waggoner

2012

Making visual art always quiets my mind and is forever my favorite form of meditation. This piece was started in 2012 during the summer break of my Freshman year at the University of Alabama. During this time, I lived with my family in Prattville, Alabama.

Between my sister’s mental instability and my wannabe stepdad’s confidence-destroying mental abuse, I very much did not enjoy being at home. Creating this piece that summer was a way for me to escape all the trauma that continued to overwhelm me. I would spend hours at the bookstore looking through astronomy magazines and National Geographics for graphics that I could use after I tired of reading short stories in the children’s section. (This was before I became wiser and started buying my magazines at thrift stores.) Natural history and the sciences have always piqued my interest, so my work portrays many of those elements.

My stepdad always insulted my intelligence and actually did not like this collage, which I find funny now. After that summer, I got my first apartment in Tuscaloosa and told my mother I’d never see her again if that man was still in our house. Luckily, that made sense to her, and she evicted that bastard.

I never intended this project to be on-going, but I am still adding to this collage. Mostly, I find myself just patching up dings from my moves. Circumstances always leave me scrambling to pack up, so injuries are bound to happen. When I patch up this piece, I’m reminded of my own resilience and adaptability. We’ve been through a lot together, and we will continue to overcome.

The World / 20 in diameter / collage 2012 / NFS

2015

- G E Dixon

2015

This is the photo that truly hooked me for taking photos, which was a recent development ( at least taking it seriously and spending time ). I fell in love with the 9x16 format and the sense of spaciousness it gave me. I have always been depressive. There are sad songs that I’m glad I was sad enough to properly hear. To let them strum me deep and low. This is an image I am glad I was sad enough to find so beautiful.

Untitled / 9 in x 16 in / photography on canvas 2015

2016

- Rick Harrison

2016

I moved back to Mississippi in 2016. I returned as a native son born in Ripley, MS, but my parents moved to Kentucky six weeks later. Kentucky would be my home for the next sixty-two years, but there would always be a part of me that was rooted in the red clay of Mississippi. I’m home at last.

Boll Weevil Manor / 18 in x 24 in / oil on wood panel 2017 / $300

- Mary Hardy

2016

I have to have the TV on to fall asleep at night…usually the old movie channel. That night it must have been a western. The news that day of the refugee children being separated from their parents had also been weighing on my mind. My subconscious must have picked up on parts of each, and I had a dream about an unknown child riding a horse and falling off.

All in a Dream / 30 in x 35 in / mixed media on paper 2017 / $1600

- G E Dixon

2016

I ran across this scene when I was leaving a gig in downtown Ocean Springs with a soul band I play with. It seemed proudly discordant in its colors and slightly migrainey. I felt like it was Eggleston winking at me. If I played a chord for this photo, there would be an augmented 4th for sure involved. One of my favorite intervals and so discordant, the Church outlawed it for a long time in its music.

Untitled / 9 in x 16 in / photography 2016

2017

- John Mason Kymes

2017

The Two-Headed Girl and All Her Men / 12.5 in x 4 in / mixed media sculpture 2020 / $1000

- Nicolette Brokaw

2017

This image is haunting. I want the viewer to really look into and almost get lost in it. I wanted to show that there can be beauty even in the darkness.

Carpe Noctem / 11 in x 14 in / black and white photography 2017 / $150

- Mary Hardy

2017

In reading the accounts and exploring the historic property of the first African American Episcopal church in my home town, I am told the worshipers held torchlit baptisms in the bayou there. I found it a strange metaphor that these very precarious plants called "Devil's Walking Stick" growing on the property that I had not seen elsewhere (at the time). Those images resulted in this piece that speaks of the worshippers' courage and faith.

Torchlight and Walking Stick / 21 in x 17 in / mixed media 2017 / $700

- Elaine Maisel

2017

Wren Nest / 30 in x 40 in / acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas 2017 / $2000

- Martha Ferris

2017

In 2017 the farm where my brothers and sisters and I grew up was sold almost a century after our grandfather bought the property, which is located in a far corner of Warren County on the Big Black River. With the sale of the place I had known and loved all my life and where my husband Kos and I had been living for almost 28 years, I felt a pressing need to photograph and paint the farm, to celebrate its homes and barns and structures, including this tree house. My brother Grey, who died in 2008, built this tree house for his grandchildren. It overlooks a beautiful landscape of pastures, a pond, and an old barn built long before my siblings and I were born.

The Treehouse / 22 in x 30 in / gouache on paper 2018 / $1800

- G E Dixon

2017

If I told them this was the office of a trailer park, I think anyone who lives or has lived in the south could tell you what the air felt like and what sounds you might hear at 10 at night (distant tv, laughs, dogs, door slamming). Even though he is out of frame, they could probably imagine the improbably crusty dog that probably at one time was white and what he looked like eating the baloney out of a discarded subway sandwich.

Untitled / 9 in x 16 in / photography 2017

2018

- Don Jacobs

2018

Along with my art, I have a passion for music. I might’ve aimed for a music career, but I figured I was a better artist, and so I paint.... but I also play music on the side. After years of trying to perfect realism and playing with monochromatic themes, I reached a point where I was ready to change gears and try something completely different. Drawing on my musical background, I became interested in honoring the icons of the Blues and embarked on an ongoing series of colorful Blues musicians. This one, “Muddy” was my first piece of the series.

Muddy / 24 in x 36 in / acrylic on masonite 2018 / NFS

- G E Dixon

2018

There’s a strange dignity to Mary and her birdbath companion. They aren’t shattered or cracked. They aren’t full of trash or knocked sideways. They are just dirty. They have grown moss because time will act on us no matter how still we stand. Out of the frame was a particularly buttery colored horse (actual not statue) who regarded me regarding Mary. Maybe me spending time to look might have stuck in his brain enough that for a few seconds as I walked away, he looked and wondered what I saw in that tableau.

Untitled / 9 in x 16 in / photography 2018

- Robert Brzuszek

2018

Time-less-ness, spirit, place, soul, grit, depth. The blues, baby. It’s why I live in Mississippi; these ghosts are all around here, persistent in people and place; it runs deep in the mud.”

All times, all years

Time-lessness / 30 in x 30 in / acrylic on found plywood 2018 / NFS

- Mary Hardy

2018

My work's subject matter is derived from bits and pieces of memory, dreams, myth, lore, familial or historic. This piece was triggered by seeing dandelions for the first time since childhood! I remember someone calling out, "come quick before they blow away."

Quick! Before They're Gone / 23 in x 17 in / mixed media 2018 / $700

2019

- Nicolette Brokaw

2019

Through a mutual friend, I met a sweet lady with mini cows. This particular one was named Ruby hence the title. I became fascinated with them. Cows have such a sweet demeanor, and I wanted to focus on her kind eyes. To some, this may only be a photo of a cow, but to me, when I see it, I see a creature with a kind soul.

Ruby / 11 in x 14 in / black and white photography 2019 / $150

- Adele Elliott

2019

Comus is the oldest carnival organization, founded in 1856. The members are the crème of New Orleans society. They would probably be shocked to find themselves represented on used brushes and decorated with found and broken objects. I like to laugh at their pomposity. It is a club that would never accept me as a member.

MAID IN THE COURT OF COMUS / 12 in x 3 in / oil on paint brush assemblage 2020 / $150

- G E Dixon

2019

Someone’s lifelong mission was to set up in a church and preach a religion that doesn’t downplay the bloody roots of its martyr. The military font. The bloody crown of thorns. The little yellow note saying he was gone for the day. The whole thing absolutely begs me to investigate. Still, I did not because the reality of talking to someone that has that much love for the crueler parts of that story might actually just make me mad, and because this is near where I get breakfast often, I didn’t want to taint the building or scene by getting angry about dogma.

Untitled / 9 in x 16 in / photography 2019

2020

- Jennifer Row-Button

2020

I Love Her Tiger Sweater / 9 in x 12 in / oil pastel on paper 2020 / $40

- Jessica Ruthven

2020

Tech 4 / 9 in x 12 in / print monotype 2020 / $75

- Nicolette Brokaw

2020

This is a very raw image. Some may disapprove. That's art. In some form or another, I think we can all relate to emotional abuse, whether from a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or relative. I wanted this image to grab and hold the viewers' attention to bring awareness to emotional abuse and relay that you never know what may go on behind closed doors.

Hold on Me / 11 in x 14 in / black and white photography 2020 / $150

- Jane Randell Creek

2020

I have four young children (ages one to seven), and at any given moment, there is always a plethora of toys around the house. Often, I become quite annoyed with these random and foreign things scattered on what feels like every square inch of flooring. I find myself torn between the roles of mother and painter, which leads to feelings of frustration or guilt when I am in one world and not the other. It has been a painful balance at times, but somehow within the past year, it has felt as if these feelings have lifted and balance has been found. I was recently spurred to channel this annoyance and frustration, and guilt into inspiration. My children's toys actually became quite satisfying to look at when I slowed down enough to study them. They became reminders of not only my children but also my own childhood. They became symbols of joy, innocence, and brevity of life...things I feel that we all need more of in 2020. I know I will miss these days of messy floors and toys abound when they are distant memories. It gives my heart so much happiness to create works that depict these little plastic or wooden or metal symbols of love. I will always remember that Mississippi was the place where I was living when my two worlds collided to create this series.

Toy Rows (Cars, Beads, Magformers) / 24 in x 30 in / acrylic on canvas 2020 / NFS

- Olivia Hodgson

2020

We're In This Together / textile sculpture 2020 / $50 ea

- Amy Webb

2020

Quarantine had me, like everyone else, spending most of my time alone at home. As the boredom set in, so did some introspection and a stronger sentiment for my home’s comfort. Without realizing I would later use some of these images for painting, I snapped pictures here and there of my favorite spaces while finding ways to pass the time around my home. I found myself staring at the wall sometimes. I took notice of the interesting effects the light had on the interior of my house at hours of the day when I normally wouldn’t be home. I realized how important the light was to these compositions and decided to use my paintings of these spaces as exercises in portraying light, and hopefully, the same warmth and comfort it brought to my home. I looked carefully at each of my belongings and thought of the stories behind them as they collected dust in the sunlight on my bedroom shelf. Home to me has a new meaning due to something as terrible as the pandemic. I feel more grateful than ever just for safe shelter.

Hallway 4:30 pm / 12 in x 12 in / oil on wood panel 2020 / $375

- Nicolette Brokaw

2020

Like many artists, photography is not my only job. I work full time at a hotel at the front desk, and at the beginning of the pandemic, I was torn. Torn to go to work because of not only putting myself at risk for covid, I also struggled with the thought of possibly bringing it home to my little boy. I couldn't afford to stay home and struggled with if it was even worth it to go. What would happen to my little boy if I was to get covid? In the beginning, it was so scary. I want the viewer to feel my inner struggle.

Essential Mom Blues / 8 in x 10 in / black and white photography 2020 / $75

- Heather Hewett

2020

While 2020 has been a very different year for everyone, I have been determined to push myself to try new things. A good friend of mine asked if I had painted large abstracts. I decided why not give it a go. This is the largest canvas I have ever attempted to tackle. I titled this “Let’s Begin.” It is the beginning of a new direction for me. I have to say I had a blast painting this one! It came easy, and I feel like people can interpret it in so many ways. I am looking forward to sharing my abstract journey into 2021.

Let's Begin / 48 in x 60 in / acrylic 2020 / $1000

Dear Artists,

Thank you for lending me your lives for this collection. It is a special thing to be an artist. To be able to see and present the world as your own.

It is also a special thing to open up and share your experiences so that others may feel seen and understood. Thank you for trusting us and allowing us to build something bigger.

Dear Lindsay,

You are an uncompromising star shining and inspiring me to reach for dreams I never thought attainable.

Your friendship has been a lighthouse I have needed to catch sight of for a long time.

Thank you to my family, friends, patrons, and God. Without you, there would be no Little Yellow Building.

- Derek

Credits:

all work featured remains the property of the original artist and may not be used or reproduced in anyway unless permission is given by the artist