Explosions of art

Info:
What: “The Voluptuous Return: Still Life of Walter Inglis Anderson”
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday thru Oct. 28
Where: Mississippi State University Department of Art Gallery, McComas Hall, Starkville
Info: (662) 325-2970, coldfusion.art.msstate.ed

By ROBBIE WARD

Daily Journal Starkville Bureau

STARKVILLE – The time the first atomic bomb dropped during World War II, Ocean Springs native and artist Walter Anderson wanted to drop his own “little explosion” on the world.

Anderson's idea was to counteract man's destructive nature with “little explosions” of art, providing an alternative to violence for expression.

This concept written in Anderson's latest biography by Christopher Maurer is something some say is relevant today, when a natural disaster has destroyed many lives along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Bill Andrews, gallery director for the Mississippi State University Department of Art, said some of Anderson's works were “compromised” by Hurricane Katrina. That includes pieces that appear in an MSU exhibit that opened Monday and will hang through Oct. 28.

Even in the face of Mother Nature's violence, the “little explosions” will continue at MSU

Andrews isn't making a fuss about “Persimmons,” a water color with paint bleeding on the wrinkled paper, or any of the other paintings affected by the storm that are on display in Starkville.

“This show is about Anderson, ” Andrews said. “It's not about the hurricane.”

Anderson's works affected by the hurricane won't be labeled, but some of the damage is obvious.

Adapting

The show features 57 pieces, including water color paintings, drawings, wooden sculptures and some ceramics.

The exhibit has been planned for more than a year, but because of Hurricane Katrina, Andrews looked outside of Walter Anderson collections in Ocean Springs to museums in Laurel and Memphis for paintings. Some of the pieces come from private collections from the Gulf Coast.

“We got to go to the coast in July and pick what we wanted out of the vault,” Andrews said. “I wish we would have known to get them all.”

Many of Anderson's works in Ocean Springs are salvageable, but others suffered irreparable damage.

Anderson's art wasn't ignored because of the atomic bomb during a war between man decades ago. Some people believe a show of his work shouldn't be silenced by a natural disaster now.

“It would not have been appropriate to cancel it,” Andrews said.

Contact Robbie Ward at 323-9831 or robbie.ward@djournal.com.