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Emily Wood, Working Self-Portrait, 2018, watercolor and watercolor pencil on worn shirt, 13 x 28 x 2 inches
Working takes many forms, and it is how we spend so much of our waking hours. But what does it mean to work? I painted a self-portrait on one of my husband’s discarded “work shirts” to explore this question. For work, he wears one of these “work shirts” with a suit and tie and goes to an office. Am I “working” if I’m caring for a child at home and painting while naps, hopefully, happen? Am I “working” if I’m making art but not making a regular paycheck? Of course I am! But does society really think so? How does it affect others’ view and my own self-worth when sometimes it seems as though caring for kids and making art are not viewed as “work”?
The medium and surface used for this piece involves some control and some element of chance. I like to experiment with how watercolor paint spreads and/or the colors bleed together differently when using various types of fabrics as the surface. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make the paint work – controlling it as much as the medium and surface will allow, but while also embracing the unpredictability of it. This is an appropriate metaphor to my life right now – raising small children while trying to maintain a career and grow as an artist. I’m learning to let go but finding ways to control what I can.
Deb Peregrine, Bix, 2018, encaustic, 10 x 10 x 2 inches
Art class was my favorite. I won a summer scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago, earning my first solo exhibition. Wandering the halls of the Art Institute at a young age affected me deeply. I wanted to become an Impressionist. One of my idols is Carl Krafft, an early 20th century Expressionist painter from Chicago. He traveled to the Ozarks to paint and started the Ozark Painters Society. When he passed in 1936, the Art Institute had an exhibition of his work. I can see Krafft’s influence in my paintings. I want my art to tell a story, to be viewer friendly, to inspire someone to pick up a brush or pen.
Jason Rankin, Bend 4, 2018, graphite on paper, 50 x 38 inches
It is my intention to create art that is accessible to the greatest number of people. I feel that graphite pencils on paper is the most ubiquitous of all art forms, as almost everyone in the Western world has drawn with a pencil on paper at some point. My drawings are intended to express my personal concepts of beauty, mostly through human form and expression.
My friend Katya has become my muse for most of my recent work, including the “Bend” series. This work is a collaboration between artist and model, allowing her to express herself in the way she chooses, while allowing me to express my own personal concepts of beauty via the human form.
Carrie Ballinger Porter, Cracks in the Landscape I, 2018, Polaroid emulsion transfer with graphite, 6 x 12 x 1 1/2 inches
In my most recent work, Cracks in the Landscape Series, I have been focused on manipulating the agricultural landscapes that one sees on the eastern half of Arkansas. These works are first taken on a 1980’s era Polaroid Instant camera. After the image has developed, I take the actual photo apart and soak it. I then remove the film or skin on which the image sits and then place it carefully on basswood or other suitable backing. At this point the image can be moved, twisted, pulled or folded. Almost as if it were a piece of unique, delicate fabric. Working in this way it is difficult to predict what the image will do. Sometimes they break or tear sometimes not. I think the imperfections are what make these landscapes so inviting. These images are meant to capture a quietness and stillness of the landscapes they represent.
Alice Guffey Miller, Survivor Barbie and the Naked Truth, 2019, mixed media, 8 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 feet
Barbie, the Great American Icon, has become an artistic medium in several of my creations. This particular Barbie survived thousands of miles as a hood ornament before rising up to expose the naked truth about today’s America. Climbing out of the ruins, she lifts with her all the little people: the down-trodden, the marginalized, the others. Barbie’s ascension speaks of the survival of the Feminine over oppression and subjugation, a triumph of peace and love over strife and hatred. She is naked because truth is always naked: without pretense, show or shame.
Carol Hart, Big Changes in the Old Neighborhood, 2018, mixed media, 30 x 30 x 1 1/2 inches
Time just seems to stand still while I’m painting. I continue to be surprised and delighted at how painting both intrigues and engages me. I am an acrylic and mixed media painter and I paint with a sense of urgency. I love experimenting with a variety of subjects, mediums and materials. I enjoy the challenge and joy of painting figures, landscapes, and abstracts. Regardless of the subject matter, I take an abstract approach, using bold bright colors, broad-brush strokes and frequently embellish my work with drawing and collage. I focus on the relationship between shapes and create the movement necessary to draw the viewer in and around the painting. Once the process has started, I tend to paint instinctively looking for those unanticipated surprises to guide me.
John Green, Toys and a Book, 2017, drawn from life on an iPad, archival inkjet on rag, 12 5/8 x 17 3/4 inches
Some of my recent work is made with a stylus on an iPad. The
tablet frees me to make finished work directly from subjects and in places
where traditional paints are impractical or too conspicuous. This broadens the
range of subjects from which the painter can work, unfiltered by photography or
The tools of digital painting have evolved to the point that they
feel very natural to me. Still, I am quite conscious of many differences
between the processes and products of painting digitally versus the use of
physical pigments. Digital painting has no physicality and no fixed scale.
Changes can be unmade and remade easily. There is nothing of the destructive
quality intrinsic to traditional painting. My digital paintings are only
paintings at all in that they are mark by mark constructions of an image on a
I use software that does not affect qualities of traditional pigments. I prefer flat, unbroken pieces of color with no emulation of physical brushes or the slippage of wet paint. Even printed, these paintings should reflect that they were made on a computer.
Jay Sage, Keep Calm & Introspect, 2018, graphite, gunpowder and gold leaf, 24 x 24 inches
Jay Sage aspires to earn the title of artist, and he works hard to convey a broad spectrum of feelings. Feelings like loneliness, vanity, and even contentment. He paves a highway into the emotional world (visually) by creating empathy in the viewer. The use of vivid contrast, and his almost graphic style, creates a visual biography around the subject, showing who they are, and where they’ve been. His ever-changing body of work utilizes a vast array of mediums and textures (such as gunpowder, spray paint, gold leaf etc…), while putting classic subjects in a contemporary setting.
Olevia “Libby” Caston, Cranial Explosions, 2018, acrylic, graphite, India, ink and grease pencil, 19 x 23 x 2
This mixed media Cranial Explosion evolved as I researched and studied abstract art leading me to Robert Rauschenberg’s 1960 works. For two weeks everyday I painted marks,lines, and stokes in black and white.
These practices inspired my passion, meditative, and spiritual desire to create this Abstract Expression.
FDELTA 60, an Arkansas Arts Center original documentary film, is set to premiere at a special event on June 28
documentary explores the innovative work featured in the 60th Annual Delta
Exhibition through the eyes of 10 Arkansas artists. Following these
artists as they create work that addresses place, identity, representation and
history, DELTA 60 proves the power of art to challenge its viewers – and its
DELTA 60 will premiere at a Film Screening and 61st Annual Delta Exhibition Closing Party at the Arkansas Arts Center on Friday, June 28. The screening will be followed by a reception featuring music from the film performed live by Little Rock musician Isaac Alexander.
While the Delta Exhibition has been an important Arkansas Arts Center
tradition for more than 60 years, DELTA 60 is the first documentary film to
explore the exhibition in depth.
Every year, the Annual Delta Exhibition – which was founded in 1958 – offers a
snapshot of the art being made in the Mississippi Delta region at that moment.
For 61 years, the Annual Delta Exhibition
has offered a conversation about its time and place, with artists often
reflecting on the landscape, people and history of the region.
DELTA 60, which was directed by by Arts
Center Digital Media Producer Matthew Rowe and co-produced by Rowe and Director
of Marketing and Communications Angel Galloway, seeks to offer a fresh
perspective on the Delta Exhibition.
DELTA 60 - Documentary Film Trailer - YouTube
“When we began capturing individual artist stories during
the 60th anniversary Delta Exhibition
last year, we realized that these stories were really part of something bigger,”
Galloway said. “While we only introduce you to 10 artists in this film, this exhibition
has been shining a light on regional artists across the Delta for 61 years.
This film is really a celebration of that history, and all those artists who
shared their vision and voice with our community.”
DELTA 60 follows both emerging and
established artists as they work, joining them in their studios, homes and on
the road as they dive into their craft, motivation and vision. The artists
featured in the film provide a unique lens through which to view the Delta Exhibition:
Melissa Cowper-Smith uses
handmade paper as an active surface for reflections on what is remembered and
what is forgotten.
Neal Harrington’s large-scale
woodcuts create a sense of mythology and folklore tied to the Ozark region.
Tammy Harrington explores
her Chinese heritage through intricately layered prints and cut paper works.
Robyn Horn’s wood sculptures articulate the
tensions inherent in the natural world.
Tim Hursley, a photographer for world-famous
architects, finds the beauty in the agricultural structures of rural Arkansas.
Lisa Krannichfeld’s female
figures demand their space while rejecting easy interpretation.
James Matthews humanizes
the overlooked places with quilts made from the things that are left
Dusty Mitchell uses
found objects to challenge the assumed relationship between an object and its viewer.
Aj Smith seeks to provide a window into the
souls of his subjects with intimate portraits.
Marjorie Williams-Smith invites her
viewer to take a closer look hermetalpoint
self-portraits – and at themselves.
“These artists are reacting to their
environment and, in doing so, challenging the way we see the things we see all
the time. Several of the artists profiled are concerned with nature and land.
Others still are trying to understand its people and its culture,” Rowe said.
“It is my hope that viewers will be able to watch each artist’s story and gain
a better understanding of their own world.”
The DELTA 60 Film Screening and 61st Annual Delta Exhibition
Closing Party will be one of the final public events held in the Arts Center’s
current MacArthur Park building. The Arts Center’s public spaces will close
June 30, with construction on the reimagined Arkansas Arts Center to begin this
are thrilled to be able to share this film with the community, especially at
this exciting moment in the Arts Center’s history,” Interim Executive Director
Laine Harber said. “The Delta Exhibition
has been an incredibly important piece of the Arts Center’s history and
development. DELTA 60 is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the Delta Exhibition’s role in nurturing the
artistic spirit of the region.”
DELTA 60 is produced by Angel Galloway and Matthew Rowe with original music written by Isaac Alexander. DELTA 60 is sponsored by Anne and Merritt Dyke and the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation. In addition, this project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call 501-372-4000.