Monday, June 08, 2009

Beautiful day.

It was such a day indeed last Saturday in Jackson. There was some sort of hubbub downtown with roads blocked off higgledy-piggledy either to do with the African-American rodeo being in town or maybe it was some kind of Juneteenth celebration. The one place that didn't make sense was closing Pascagoula for 1 block in front of the Court House unless they were expecting a demonstration later. But eventually we wound our way around the hulk of the King Edward and back under the Planetarium to the newly sited and improved MMA. As part of our two day overnight Jackson stay we took in some exhibitions at the Mississippi Museum of Art; or better yet, a exhibition and two space-filling installations which were fine but a bit misleadingly advertised by said museum. In other words, if you drove their specifically to see Eudora Welty in New York due to their web page buildup, you have a right to complain vociferously despite the lack of an admission charge. one exit hallway with 30+ silver nitrate gelatin prints does not an exhibition make. Nor does it work since with one exception the most compelling images have nothing to do with New York! More on these pictures after Dufy review.

A Little Background on the Artist

Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) was a a Fauvist painter who eventually experimented with more Modernist trope yet never really partook of Impressionism. Moreover beyond being a painter, he was an extremely influential figure in the world of haute couture through a collaboration with Paul Poiret and became one of the great innovators of twentieth century textile design in partnership (1912-28) with the Biachini-Férier firm of Lyon, France. His influence spread across all types of patterns from animal to floral and on to merely geometric.

[Printed Linen ca 1920, courtesy of V&A museum]

His 1920 silk brocades based on the woodcut llustrations he did for Guillaume Apollinaire's Le Bestiarie, ou Cortège d'Orphée literally started the stampede toward animal print designs as later work with B-f would lead to floral imprints and the like.

His innovations in the technical side of reproducing tints on textiles cannot be overstated, especially through use of the fiche card technique to color contrast tints of duplicate designs.
In terms of painting, Dufy's achievement stands on his experimentation with separation of form and color. Standing on the jetty at Honfleur nearby the lighthouse, he noticed a young girl promenading in a bright red dress.

[This image is from the reverse perspective of the one shown in the exhibition but you get the concept]

Ultimately he concluded that impression or memory of color far outlasts any concept of the shape of the object observed. He furthered this theorizing with discussion of a variety of colors brought on by a variety of lights. Two important ones were local tone or the color of a particular object and ambient tone the color that bathes scenes as a whole. With respect to light, he believed "Light is the soul of color . . . . without light, color is lifeless."

Some of the special finds of this exhibition included the following:


A whimsical textile print of real "Sea" horses.

A Dufy-inspired dress

Back to Welty and Coast-based artists

Welty's photos show a sharp eye for detail and an interest in the intimate details of everyday working life. However, only the Homeless in Union Square photo from New York rises to the level of her work chronicling African Americans in the Deep South. The Four coast artists "exhibition" is almost equally throwaway except more time and care has been spent mounting it in lighted and recessed viewing cabinets in the entry hallway beside the MMA gift shop.

Having finished off our high art portion of the trip we headed to the Cherokee Inn's no locale for lunch and to catch game 2 of FSU's Super Regional versus the Arkansas Razorbacks. We won't dwell on the outcome of game or series as it was an exciting nail biter. Besides Ole Miss has gone home and Southern is in!

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