COLUMBUS, Miss. -- “Unnatural Response,” an exhibition of large-scale contemporary art, opens the academic year at the Mississippi University for Women Galleries.

 The work is by four Alabama artists: Claire Lewis Evans, Anne Herbert, Kelly Parvin and Kelly Shannon, all of whom studied together at the University of Alabama. The exhibition runs through Tuesday, Sept. 18 with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Evans’ mixed media sculptures appear to float in the air to lyrically define the space in which they inhabit, each with its own rhythm. In her artist statement, she explains that her goal is “to make art infused with vitality and presence—work that makes itself felt.”

Herbert investigates a duality of experience, both out in the world and subjectively. She paints soft patterns that often have some internal disruption. At times, this is through the merest hints of forms rising to the surface, and at other times, it is the patterns themselves that are on the verge of dissolving into the fabric of the painting.

Vibrant colors are the hallmark of Parvin’s large paintings. She uses India ink and white glue to suggest deep, rich pools surrounded by diaphanous veils of color. The glue is applied to the canvas in lines or patterns, and then Parvin sprays the ink over the glue or around it. The effect is similar to a batik technique of fabric embellishment.

Shannon presents an installation of very large, ceramic sculptural forms. Each is bisque fired and spray painted a mottled grey. The forms feature large openings that help to visually lighten them but also conjures up images of removed limbs or simplified coral. The forms are arranged so that they appear animated, almost humanoid.

Herbert Art

The title of the exhibition, “Unnatural Response,” derives from the non-objective nature of the art and also how each piece relates to an adjacent work.

“Additionally, the work is hung so that it energizes the space. That’s unusual—often the space is neutral, but here it becomes part of the work,” said Dr. Beverly Joyce, director of the W Galleries. The exhibition was proposed by James Davis, a ceramicist who also attended graduate school with the featured artists.

The Mississippi University for Women Galleries, located in Summer Hall, are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., following the university calendar. The Galleries are free and open to the public.

Aug. 31, 2018