Sunday, September 15, 2013

Southern Culture and Art

Some of the South Mississippi Art Association painters at my workshop this weekend in Hattiesburg, MS.

Art as a metaphor:

Art is a metaphor for me, so I try to be honest with my work, wanting to describe my life though my paintings.  It seems pretty intuitive to do this. My life seems pretty ordinary to me and I enjoy describing it in my landscape paintings. An example of that is in the finished painting that I did mostly in plein air out in our garden. I ended up naming the painting,"Coon Trap".   You can read about it here.

 Soviet impressionists seemed to do that and they are some of my favorite artists. An architect at my show this weekend said the Russian impressionist's influence was apparent in some of my work and that I would probably enjoy reading the Russian art theory. I have a big book of the Soviet impressionists work but mainly I just look at the pictures. I may actually read it now to see if it describes a deeper theory behind it...besides the well know government imposed propagandized art censorship in the history of the art there. But I hope I find a deeper meaning because I like theory. I like finding interrelationships and connections between of things.

And speaking of interrelationships:

The night before my show opened at A Gallery, there was another art show opening in town- actually right across the street at Oddfellows Gallery. Half of that show was probably classified as non-objective work. I look closely at work in shows and this work was by the USM Art department faculty. I really enjoyed meeting them and seeing the show. But while I was browsing over the work, an astute young guy asked me if I was an artist.  I answered that yes- and that I was mostly a "landscape" painter.
He asked me a question that taught me a lot about my own work:
"Do you consider yourself and American landscape painter?" 
I nodded, "Yeah... Pretty much."
Then I stood there thinking about it, and spoke up hesitantly not wanting to "peg" myself into a specific region, but felt the need to better describe my work,   "Well, I'm mostly a 'southern landscape painter'.. and then just being me, I blurted out the simple truth:  
"Honestly, a lot of my work is just painting things from my backyard!"
So I asked, "What do you do?"   
He lifted his nose into the air and said he was a Cultural Anthropologist
Feeling much better about my work, I said, "Then you should go see my show... It's all about cultural anthropology!

The American Anthropological Association defines Sociocultural anthropologists this way:
 They "examine social patterns and practices across cultures, with a special interest in how people live in particular places and how they organize, govern, and create meaning."

Should I start describing myself a "Cultural Anthropological Artist? ...It has a nice ring to it!

Getting them straight...Justin Albert hanging paintings for my show at AGallery in Hattiesburg. The show includes the painting, "Coon Trap" and it runs through mid October. All paintings ©2013 Dot Courson.

"Coon Trap" Oil, 30x30 ©2013 Dot Courson
This painting is a strong cultural anthropological statement about sustenance and the southern life: a garden with a live trap to save the sweetcorn crop from raccoons.

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