Voices of the Delta: John Allison

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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John Allison, Diptych – Bike Ride South, 2018, oil, cold wax and mixed media, 60 x 96 x 2 inches

As a painter, I find inspiration in all that I see all of the time. Chartreuse moss on a wet sidewalk, a stripped bare concrete floor, tangled geometry and colors as I ride my bike across a bridge, the memory of a dream with an unimagined color combination.

Yet, the act of painting is another reality. Interacting with the medium, the mark, the mistake on the surface draws me into and away from my visions. It happens in the moment and is not unlike a trance.

Striving for sense of order in the end, I allow myself to begin with chaotic gestures. There’s a set of rules, but only to be broken. I want colors to challenge: to fight, confuse and seduce. Always texture and glimpses of what went before with marks both precise and brash.

I strive for work that speaks a private truth to each viewer.

– John Allison

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Voices of the Delta: Hannah Moll

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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Hannah Moll, Agricultural Horizon, 2017, laser etching and acrylic on panel, 36 x 32 inches

Moving paint across the canvas and soil across the earth –both are part of an additive and subtractive process. This movement cultivates a future for new growth. When paint glides across the canvas, transparency gives way to underlying information- color, texture, and form. It is a generative process layering data, giving way to a new interpretation. Painting naturally lends itself to an experiential, ephemeral, and phenomenological approach to analysis based on these properties. As a landscape designer, painting enriches and enhances site analysis providing a way to discover and analyze both quantitative and qualitative information.

Painting is a powerful tool that has the ability to cross objective and subjective boundaries. It breathes the life of a captured moment into the present. My responsibility is to capture and recreate these meaningful moments. Each of my paintings of the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center tells a new story- sometimes untold, hidden, or an obscure part of daily life. This land speaks its own language through hydrology, geology, and ecology; it is a dialect interpreted by the people who cultivate the land and a conversation that continues to evolve each season. When viewing my paintings, each observer experiences the landscape through a lens of research, analysis, and brushstrokes unique to my own conversation.

– Hannah Moll

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Voices of the Delta: Marc Mitchell

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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Marc Mitchell, MKC, 2017, acrylic on custom shaped panels, 46 x 50 inches

I am influenced by many things – vintage punk rock, VHS tapes, internet blogs, WWI battle ships, beat-up amps, and custom guitars all play a role in the development of my paintings and digital prints.

For the past four years, the notion of ‘cycle’ has played an increasing role within my studio practice. During this time, I became interested in how avant-garde movements succeed and fail within popular culture. Most recently, I have been focusing on two trends: ‘Dazzle Ships’ and ‘New Old Stock’ to shape visual imagery.

– Marc Mitchell

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Voices of the Delta: Donna Pinckley

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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For over 30 years I have photographed a particular social and cultural group of children. Before my eyes and in front of my camera they have passed through adolescence into young adulthood. My goal throughout has been to portray not how the world sees them, but how they see themselves.

I began by working with one child at a time, but as my subjects have grown up and matured, people and relationships have replaced toys and skateboards, both in their lives and in my photographs—siblings and friends, casual acquaintances, and mostly recently, romantic partners.

The Sticks and Stones photography series began with an image of one of my frequent subjects and her African-American boyfriend. Her mother and I were catching up when she told me of the cruel taunts hurled at her daughter for dating a boy of another race. As she was speaking, I was reminded of another couple many years ago, who had been the object of similar racial slurs. What struck me was the resilience of both couples in the face of derision, their refusal to let others define them.

Three years ago, I began photographing interracial couples of all ages, aiming as always to capture how they see themselves, the world of love and trust they have created despite adversity. In their own handwriting, I added the negative comments they have been subjected to at the bottom of the images as a reminder of how part of society sees them.

– Donna Pinckley

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Voices of the Delta: Charles Henry James

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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Charles Henry James, Loitering, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

I was born in upstate New York. My artistic roots are in the East Village New York City scene of the 1980s. I mingled with the great and the obscure, and found a wealth of riches in all corners. I have worked with David Salle, Karole Armitage, Robert Longo, and Gretchen Bender. My work has shown in New York, Paris, Amsterdam, and here in Arkansas. Little Rock is my home since 1990.

My brain is a whirlwind of ideas, images, worries, and fantasies. This internal kaleidoscope can be a rather frightening, unstoppable force. My work acts as a safety valve, generating fixed responses to the chaos. The ingredients that go into my work include ontology, existentialism, Buddhism, horror and sci-fi films, comics, psychedelics, and humor. Add a healthy disdain for corporatist culture and you have a good idea where my art is coming from. The work distills what I hope is a credible and potent artistic extract.

– Charles Henry James

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Voices of the Delta: Marjorie Williams-Smith

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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Marjorie Williams-Smith, The Messengers, 2018, copperpoint, aluminumpoint, silverpoint, Conte crayon, and graphite pencil on black acrylic gesso, 30 x 22 inches

I have worked with silverpoint for more than 30 years. The fine line of silverpoint and the ethereal qualities of the metal have captured my focus. These attributes lend themselves well to the natural forms that I draw. My drawings depict a focus on spirituality and strength. The drawing titled The Messengers showcases flowers used as my vehicle for expression.

– Marjorie Williams-Smith

Williams-Smith’s work is also featured in the Arkansas Arts Center Collection.

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Voices of the Delta: Aj Smith

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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Aj Smith, Faces of the Delta: Geraldine, 2012–2016, graphite pencil, 46 x 36 inches

The Faces of the Delta Series consists of several silverpoint and large-scale graphite pencil drawings to portray individuals living in relatively remote isolated communities of the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta. This series of drawings celebrate the gift of honesty and majestic ordinariness, even when faced with political, economic, and social deprivation.

– Aj Smith

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Voices of the Delta: Cynthia Kresse

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

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Cynthia Kresse, Kresse at Full Moon, Easter, 2016, pastel on paper, 25 x 37 inches

I am fascinated by what is hidden in the shadows and exposed by the light. I explore the qualities of natural and artificial light, and juxtapose them within my pastel images. In my artwork, the light and darkness is applied in endless color variations, always looking for a vibrancy between them. I want to show that ordinary moments can be extraordinary, when light and shadows work their effect. The figures, interiors, and landscapes around us can provide subtlety and mystery.

Technically, I work on a thin print paper that gets a bit of texture as I rub layer after layer of color onto it with my fingers and hands. No brushes or tools are used and no pre-drawing is underneath, so there is a freedom as I work directly on the paper with my fingertips, and let an image emerge. The result is a completely unique use of pastels.  And the effect is what I prefer, soft and ill-defined. It represents what I find compelling, that which is not completely accessible.

– Cynthia Kresse

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