Abstract artists enlighten JCJC art students

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2016-02-19 18:07:13

ELLISVILLE – Abstract artists, Joe A. MacGown, his son, Joesph H. MacGown and Laurie Burton spent an afternoon broadening the abstract art horizons of Jones County Junior College art students.  As featured artists for the month of February, the three Starkville residents shared their thought process and purpose behind their conceptual artwork.
“As a whole, Mississippi is not a haven for abstract art.  It’s subjective. We’re weird but I also do nature scenes, admitted, Laurie Burton who also works as the costing manager at Garan Manufacturing, an international clothing manufacturer in Starkville. “Most people don’t get this stuff but I don’t let people who don’t get it, deter me. I like the challenge of putting it all together and the process of creating. It’s all experimental. Most of us are not artists to make money.”
Burton explained her sculptures usually tell stories or have a message, like the assemblage, “Girls are Complicated.”
“Using papier Mache, building materials and discarded items like rusty nails and tools, I create assemblage sculpture that mimics our inner strengths, frailties and idiosyncrasies.  I am always looking for the unexpected when combining objects; combining similarities between human and mechanical shapes, functions and design,” said Burton.   
Strolling through the JCJC Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery through February, you’ll find abstract assemblage/sculptures and paintings. JCJC freshman art education major, Katelyn Stone, a South Jones High School graduate admitted the abstract form of art was hard for her to grasp. 
“Everything is so unique and you don’t see it very often.  Some is very detailed and I appreciate how Mr. MacGown goes with the flow as an artist.  I’m a planner so it’s different for me.”
Joseph A. MacGown said he began studying art in Memphis and randomly found a job as an illustrator for an entomology researcher at MSU.  As a scientific illustrator and research technician at Mississippi Entomological Museum, he has learned to draw very detailed objects, especially ants.  He explained to JCJC students he likes to draw what he observes and make connections.  For the most part though, he doesn’t plan or think about what he’s going to paint; he just creates.
“Everything I do I mess up or create by accident,” said the internationally known artist.  “I look for patterns and experiment with different mediums and tools to paint.  I’ve always liked to draw, especially fantastical surreal art,” said Joe A. MacGown.   
With local, regional and international exhibits in Dallas to Portugal and Russia, MacGown shared he has several projects going on simultaneously.  His painting, “Red Fish” took about an hour to paint and sells for $8,000, while his drawing, “Vent” took about 60 hours to create over months.
“I want people to appreciate my art. I love the process of creating, not as much as the end result or finished product,” said Joe A. MacGown.
The younger MacGown, Joseph H. MacGown’s version of art is obviously influenced by his father’s surreal and fantastical style.  However the 19-year old likes to use more color in his artwork. 
“I just started doing my own thing.  I’m more about the moment of the expression. I like colors, and exploring with what I’m doing.”
Joseph H. MacGown has already done one installation, participated in at least 10 group exhibitions including an international exhibit, and recorded over 150 of his own musical compositions, in part because of the connections his father has developed over the years. During his visit at JCJC, the older MacGown challenged JCJC artists to collaborate with other artists and utilize the Internet to share artwork. MacGown explained meeting other artists from collaborations and online, has opened doors for his art to be seen worldwide.
Burton’s and the MacGown’s artwork will be on display through the end of the month at JCJC’s art gallery.  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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