Ceramic sculptures featured in JCJC’s art gallery

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2014-09-12 13:38:02

ELLISVILLE – Biloxi artist, Stacey Johnson’s clay figures, statues and animal faces are on display this month in the Jones County Junior College Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery.   Her show, “Evolution” is open to the public and is described as a reflection of Johnson’s life and evolution of her art. Some of Johnson’s work featured at JCJC was made available with funds from the Mississippi Arts Commission.
In addition to the gallery show, the artist provided a special treat for JCJC art students by giving insight into her process of designing clay figures like one of her personal favorites, “Weeping Warrior.” Two students, Kimberly Simmons from Petal and Dana Baker of Sylvarena jumped at the chance to get their hands dirty and joined Johnson to create a new sculpture.
“It’s abstract and makes me feel happy. Looking at the figure it doesn’t look right but it feels good, (creating with clay). It is kind of like therapy because I’m discovering what makes me happy even though it doesn’t look perfect,” said Simmons. 
Johnson said she starts with the head of her sculpture figure and the clay reveals a face, just like we can find shapes in clouds, she explained. A lot of her sculptures usually have stones or sand mixed in the clay to add texture and layers. Circles, orbs or other images like stars, she shared with the JCJC students and guests from the local art community are some of her favorite objects to include in her art.
“Each piece I create initially stems from a person or event which has touched me in life. I often work backwards with a title in mind, then sketching and consequently sculpting the figure. In a sense titles serve as a link with the outside world, providing small hints to my thoughts….a guideline for interpretation of the sculpture,” said Johnson.
Entering the gallery, Johnson’s show looks like dolls on walls and pedestals. She emphasized, “I don’t think the figures look creepy or scary. They’re symbolic of something I’ve gone through. Nothing in this world is perfect and my art reveals those imperfections.”
The ceramic sculptures also reflect Johnson’s interests in Southern Folk Art and Art Brut. She explained, “I have a great respect for the raw, unbridled work of untrained Southern artists, many of who work with found materials and religious insight. Likewise, the art of the clinically insane, or Art Brut has always held me spellbound….each and every one of (these artists) creates out of need or passion.”
JCJC art major, Chip Cooley of Laurel looked around the gallery and was drawn to one of Johnson’s favorite sculptures on a pedestal, “Weeping Warrior”. He said, “I’m interested in this type of art because it is so far off from what I’d do, but I appreciate the expression and the interpretation.”
For more information about the JCJC art show contact the gallery at 601-477-4148 or visit the gallery which is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The gallery is closed for lunch daily from 11:30 until noon. 


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