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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Voices of the Delta: Kevin O’Brien

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

Kevin O’Brien, Pat Painting, 2019, oil on canvas, 11 x 14 x 2 inches

I view many of my paintings as intimate depictions of interiors with lush paint handling. Many of my favorite painters are Fairfield Porter, Richard Diebenkorn, Calvin “Cal” Schenkel, Wayne Thiebaud, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston. 

– Kevin O’Brien

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Voices of the Delta: Laura Terry

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

Laura Terry, A Book of Maps, 2018, monoprint collage with graphite and hand-stitching, 24 x 36 inches

My paintings idealize the landscape. I am not interested in the picturesque. I am interested in the patterns of nature, of seasons, and of human intervention. The landscapes I paint are a result of how those patterns shape the world I live in. Dualities are inherent in these cycles: dark and light, chaos and order, organic and synthetic. These dualities provide balance in my work. They shift the pendulum of my view near and distant, detailed and blurred. My eyes are cameras with lenses both microscopic and wide-angled. I record the landscape observant of these opposites. I paint, draw and print to measure the differences in the landscape. Each mark tells a different story of the same landscape. The landscape reveals another narrative I intend to capture.

– Laura Terry

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Voices of the Delta: Sherry Leedy

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

Sherry Leedy, Tilt, 2017, soft pastel on paper, 30 x 34 inches

My still life drawings are based on direct observation. I am interested in what is discovered and revealed during the process of slow looking and response over a long period of time, as the drawing evolves, creating itself, slowly, one mark at a time.

My intention is to convey my deeply felt connection to the world, beauty and life that is all around us. Seeing and feeling, observation, ideas, friendship, nature and day-to-day interactions inspire and sustain my art practice.

The tradition of Vanitas and the symbolic meaning of objects has a long and rich history in art, one with which I feel connected. The possibility that subject matter carries iconic meaning, in addition to visual power as form, pattern, color, light, and line, provokes and keeps me in the studio late at night.

Equally compelling is the pure visual challenge of seeing and striving to translate experience into a drawing that has a life of its own. Some of the objects that I draw have a personal significance. Other times, the chance meeting of unlikely objects catches me. There is a power in these artifacts of the recent past, in their human familiarity and strangeness.

Always, the work is about the relationship between form, light, color and space, often independent of any other meaning known to me. The stuff of the still life – apples and oranges, green glass and blue, mirrors and glass funnels – are activated by light and seem as though actors on stage in a familiar yet unknown performance.

Making mark after mark of pastel as soft as butter, I strive to make visible the everyday, unseen and overlooked, as I continue to explore my place in the world.

– Sherry Leedy

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Voices of the Delta: Scinthya Edwards

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

Scinthya Edwards, Birds of a Feather…, 2019, diptych, paper collage on canvas, 20 x 32 inches

It was a scrap book project in my middle school civics class that I was introduced to the creative process which allowed me to tell a story by simply collecting, cutting, pasting and using word calligraphy on a page I designed. This scrap book activity informed the collage methods and experience I use in my current journal books as well as art works which are often filled with numerous clippings and objects from my travels and life adventures.

Iconography, as a branch of art history, interests me as I study various types of traditional icon images, African symbols and Asian calligraphy to determine their use for my own personal interpretations of content and subjects. For Birds of a Feather… I apply both calligraphy and symbol drawings as a base foundation creating juxtaposed layering of pencil and marker mingled with a large cutout image of a 1908 Print selected from my personal collection titled “Black Birds” displaying black children sitting in a tree. Additional round, geometric-shaped images of eggs, birds and people surround and balance this tree of children. Stamps trail and dart over the entire canvas to help introduce and support a theme. The overall color of the canvas is determined by the images that are collaged.

One of the most significant aspects of my collage processes is the longevity or archival breadth of each art work which is anchored in a patient application of adhesive techniques to achieve a flat surface. Because I approach my work much similar to constructing and completing a puzzle, I am comfortable with the beginning and assemblage of my collage art work. However, the final question is when do I know to end or simply stop working on this art piece? 

This is an answer and approach I relied on as I meandered though my concept and dialogue that I used to create Birds of the Feather…  I finished this collage like eating a bowl of pot licker with a chunk of cornbread. I sopped the juice until the bread was gone then I stopped and drank the remaining juice. 

– Scinthya Edwards

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Voices of the Delta: Heather Christine Guenard

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

Heather Christine Guenard, LV-426, 2018, collagraph plate & print, 27 1/8 x 33 1/4 x 3/4 inches

I am a process artist whose reward is the journey. My media of choice is printmaking, specifically collagraphs, created by the manipulation of matboard, trash, found objects, with the addition of a variety of acrylic paint and varnishes. Led by the unconscious and accidental texture, each composition is an exploration and celebration of texture and mark-making. I fell in love with this style of collagraph printmaking as each step is part of an ever expanding work of multiple layers and possibilities, from the development of the plate that becomes its own work of art, to the use of intaglio printmaking techniques where the textures within the plate are finally revealed through printing, and often further developed with the addition of mixed media.

I am greatly influenced by the grattage method created by surrealist Max Ernst, the biomorphic works of H.R. Giger, the action painting of Jackson Pollock, and the collagraph work of Peter Wray and Judy Collins.

– Heather Christine Guenard

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