Voices of the Delta: Carrie Ballinger Porter

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Carrie Ballinger Porter, Cracks in the Landscape I, 2018, Polaroid emulsion transfer with graphite, 6 x 12 x 1 1/2 inches

In my most recent work, Cracks in the Landscape Series, I have been focused on manipulating the agricultural landscapes that one sees on the eastern half of Arkansas. These works are first taken on a 1980’s era Polaroid Instant camera. After the image has developed, I take the actual photo apart and soak it. I then remove the film or skin on which the image sits and then place it carefully on basswood or other suitable backing. At this point the image can be moved, twisted, pulled or folded. Almost as if it were a piece of unique, delicate fabric. Working in this way it is difficult to predict what the image will do. Sometimes they break or tear sometimes not. I think the imperfections are what make these landscapes so inviting. These images are meant to capture a quietness and stillness of the landscapes they represent.

– Carrie Ballinger Porter

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Voices of the Delta: Alice Guffey Miller

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Alice Guffey Miller, Survivor Barbie and the Naked Truth, 2019, mixed media, 8 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 feet

Barbie, the Great American Icon, has become an artistic medium in several of my creations. This particular Barbie survived thousands of miles as a hood ornament before rising up to expose the naked truth about today’s America. Climbing out of the ruins, she lifts with her all the little people: the down-trodden, the marginalized, the others. Barbie’s ascension speaks of the survival of the Feminine over oppression and subjugation, a triumph of peace and love over strife and hatred. She is naked because truth is always naked: without pretense, show or shame.

– Alice Guffey Miller

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Voices of the Delta: Carol Hart

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Carol Hart, Big Changes in the Old Neighborhood, 2018, mixed media, 30 x 30 x 1 1/2 inches

Time just seems to stand still while I’m painting. I continue to be surprised and delighted at how painting both intrigues and engages me. I am an acrylic and mixed media painter and I paint with a sense of urgency.  I love experimenting with a variety of subjects, mediums and materials. I enjoy the challenge and joy of painting figures, landscapes, and abstracts. Regardless of the subject matter, I take an abstract approach, using bold bright colors, broad-brush strokes and frequently embellish my work with drawing and collage. I focus on the relationship between shapes and create the movement necessary to draw the viewer in and around the painting.  Once the process has started, I tend to paint instinctively looking for those unanticipated surprises to guide me.

– Carol Hart

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Voices of the Delta: John Green

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

John Green, Toys and a Book, 2017, drawn from life on an iPad, archival inkjet on rag, 12 5/8 x 17 3/4 inches

Some of my recent work is made with a stylus on an iPad. The tablet frees me to make finished work directly from subjects and in places where traditional paints are impractical or too conspicuous. This broadens the range of subjects from which the painter can work, unfiltered by photography or preparatory sketches.

The tools of digital painting have evolved to the point that they feel very natural to me. Still, I am quite conscious of many differences between the processes and products of painting digitally versus the use of physical pigments. Digital painting has no physicality and no fixed scale. Changes can be unmade and remade easily. There is nothing of the destructive quality intrinsic to traditional painting. My digital paintings are only paintings at all in that they are mark by mark constructions of an image on a flat plane.

I use software that does not affect qualities of traditional pigments. I prefer flat, unbroken pieces of color with no emulation of physical brushes or the slippage of wet paint. Even printed, these paintings should reflect that they were made on a computer.

– John Green

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Voices of the Delta: Jay Sage

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Jay Sage, Keep Calm & Introspect, 2018, graphite, gunpowder and gold leaf, 24 x 24 inches

Jay Sage aspires to earn the title of artist, and he works hard to convey a broad spectrum of feelings. Feelings like loneliness, vanity, and even contentment. He paves a highway into the emotional world (visually) by creating empathy in the viewer. The use of vivid contrast, and his almost graphic style, creates a visual biography around the subject, showing who they are, and where they’ve been. His ever-changing body of work utilizes a vast array of mediums and textures (such as gunpowder, spray paint, gold leaf etc…), while putting classic subjects in a contemporary setting.

– Jay Sage

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Voices of the Delta: Libby Caston

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta


Olevia “Libby” Caston, Cranial Explosions, 2018, acrylic, graphite, India, ink and grease pencil, 19 x 23 x 2

This mixed media  Cranial Explosion evolved as I researched and studied abstract art leading me to Robert Rauschenberg’s 1960 works. For two weeks everyday I painted marks,lines, and stokes in black and white.

These practices inspired my passion, meditative, and spiritual desire to create this Abstract Expression.                                                                   

– Libby Caston

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DELTA 60 to premiere at Arkansas Arts Center

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 60, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Events, Exhibitions, Museum, Video, Voices of the Delta

FDELTA 60, an Arkansas Arts Center original documentary film, is set to premiere at a special event on June 28

The hour-long documentary explores the innovative work featured in the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition through the eyes of 10 Arkansas artists. Following these artists as they create work that addresses place, identity, representation and history, DELTA 60 proves the power of art to challenge its viewers – and its makers.

DELTA 60 will premiere at a Film Screening and 61st Annual Delta Exhibition Closing Party at the Arkansas Arts Center on Friday, June 28. The screening will be followed by a reception featuring music from the film performed live by Little Rock musician Isaac Alexander.

Click here for DELTA 60 Film Screening & 61st Annual Delta Exhibition Closing Party tickets.

While the Delta Exhibition has been an important Arkansas Arts Center tradition for more than 60 years, DELTA 60 is the first documentary film to explore the exhibition in depth.

Every year, the Annual Delta Exhibition – which was founded in 1958 – offers a snapshot of the art being made in the Mississippi Delta region at that moment. For 61 years, the Annual Delta Exhibition has offered a conversation about its time and place, with artists often reflecting on the landscape, people and history of the region.

DELTA 60, which was directed by by Arts Center Digital Media Producer Matthew Rowe and co-produced by Rowe and Director of Marketing and Communications Angel Galloway, seeks to offer a fresh perspective on the Delta Exhibition.

“When we began capturing individual artist stories during the 60th anniversary Delta Exhibition last year, we realized that these stories were really part of something bigger,” Galloway said. “While we only introduce you to 10 artists in this film, this exhibition has been shining a light on regional artists across the Delta for 61 years. This film is really a celebration of that history, and all those artists who shared their vision and voice with our community.”

DELTA 60 follows both emerging and established artists as they work, joining them in their studios, homes and on the road as they dive into their craft, motivation and vision. The artists featured in the film provide a unique lens through which to view the Delta Exhibition:

Melissa Cowper-Smith uses handmade paper as an active surface for reflections on what is remembered and what is forgotten.

Neal Harrington’s large-scale woodcuts create a sense of mythology and folklore tied to the Ozark region.

Tammy Harrington explores her Chinese heritage through intricately layered prints and cut paper works.

Robyn Horn’s wood sculptures articulate the tensions inherent in the natural world.

Tim Hursley, a photographer for world-famous architects, finds the beauty in the agricultural structures of rural Arkansas.

Lisa Krannichfeld’s female figures demand their space while rejecting easy interpretation.

James Matthews humanizes the overlooked places with quilts made from the things that are left behind. 

Dusty Mitchell uses found objects to challenge the assumed relationship between an object and its viewer.

Aj Smith seeks to provide a window into the souls of his subjects with intimate portraits.

Marjorie Williams-Smith invites her viewer to take a closer look hermetalpoint self-portraits – and at themselves.

“These artists are reacting to their environment and, in doing so, challenging the way we see the things we see all the time. Several of the artists profiled are concerned with nature and land. Others still are trying to understand its people and its culture,” Rowe said. “It is my hope that viewers will be able to watch each artist’s story and gain a better understanding of their own world.”

The DELTA 60 Film Screening and 61st Annual Delta Exhibition Closing Party will be one of the final public events held in the Arts Center’s current MacArthur Park building. The Arts Center’s public spaces will close June 30, with construction on the reimagined Arkansas Arts Center to begin this fall.

“We are thrilled to be able to share this film with the community, especially at this exciting moment in the Arts Center’s history,” Interim Executive Director Laine Harber said. “The Delta Exhibition has been an incredibly important piece of the Arts Center’s history and development. DELTA 60 is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the Delta Exhibition’s role in nurturing the artistic spirit of the region.”

DELTA 60 is produced by Angel Galloway and Matthew Rowe with original music written by Isaac Alexander. DELTA 60 is sponsored by Anne and Merritt Dyke and the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation. In addition, this project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call 501-372-4000.

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