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Daylight Savings brings savored Southern art to Southside Gallery

 

Afternoons are lasting longer in the newly green Grove, while fresh blooms and home runs put some extra sweet in our tea. Springtime brings celebration to all things Mississippian and Southside Gallery will join in this April, exhibiting two different homegrown artists. 

“It’s always nice to showcase the people who are around you,” Southside director Will Cook said of the exhibitors, oil painter Lou Jordan and ceramicist Yerger Andre, both Ole Miss graduates who grew up in Jackson. “I thought it would be a show that would have the interest of a lot of local people and people from the state.”

Jordan, who currently resides in Charlottesville, Va., showed her work in 2000 at the University of Mississippi Museum and currently has pieces displayed in the Lyceum, while Andre recently exhibited at the New Orleans Ogden Museum of Southern Art with fellow Mississippi potters and has open house shows at the home of his mother and fellow artist in Jackson.

Oxford seems to be a desired setting for both of alums. 

“Oxford is highly receptive to new work,” Andre said, “I took (ceramics) up (at Ole Miss) and had no idea what I was getting into, but I got a lot of support from my professors at the university, which continues to this day.” 

Jordan holds a similar view, seeing Southside as a perfect venue for her “homecoming” show. 

“It’s kind of in a nest of activity and intellectual stimulation,” she said. 

“Right down the street from a bookstore, right on the historic Square. I think Oxford has always had an arts culture, if you include literature and music and the visual arts and just interesting people who are works of art in themselves.”

Not only do these artists have personal ties to and fondness for Oxford and the region, but they also appreciate Southern influence on art and even capture it in their work. Jordan created a diptych tribute to Mississippi artists entitled “Mississippi 1 and 2” that will be featured in the Southside exhibit. 

“I took parts of the paintings of artists like Theora Hamblett, Walter Anderson, Mildred Wolfe, Bill Dunlap and others and painted in their style and merged them all together,” Jordan said, explaining this work. 

“I was learning along the way how they achieved their images, their use of colors, just their method of painting.” 

She describes these and other Southern artists as “extremely aware and original artists. There is a storytelling element (in Southern art), and shyness is not a part of it. Each artist I admire strikes out on their own and just makes the art work.”

As a fellow Southern artist, Andre would agree that confident originality is key. 

“I’ve learned that you have to be true to your own intuition,” he said. “I have a natural tendency to make clean forms, and I do a lot of trimming on my pots so they have nice balanced necks. I’ve allowed myself to really focus on every bit of the construction process, and I tend to layer the crystalline glazes so I can get these nice streaks and spots.”

As unique as Southern artists make their work, community and familiarity hold as values to them as well, resonating beyond the traditional hospitality of the table and the Grove. 

“If you scratch the surface, there are quite a few potters here in Mississippi,” Andre said. “

The Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild helps to maintain quality standards throughout the state, and I’ve gotten tons of support over the years from fellow members.” 

Jordan’s work for the Southside exhibit, including her tribute to Southern art, honors this familiarity with the title “In Mind.” 

“I think that’s an expression we all use so often: I’ll keep you in mind,” she said. “So all the art that I’ve displayed (at Southside) is something that made such an impression upon me that I wanted to save it and be in touch with that image for a long, long time.” 

Members of the Oxford and Ole Miss community can receive a local, cultural experience to savor with Southside Gallery’s exhibit through April 28, as both Jordan and Andre get back in touch with their college roots and bring something newly enjoyable to the town that’s in bloom.