Maude Schuyler Clay and William Dunlap to exhibit new works at Southside Gallery for month of November
Maude Schuyler Clay will exhibit new photographs and William Dunlap will exhibit new paintings and sculptures at Southside Galley from November 7th – December 2nd. An artists’ reception is scheduled for Thursday, November 16th, 5 – 8 PM. Both artists have strong ties to Mississippi. Their work often details a complex relationship with the state.
Maude Schuyler Clay is best known for her iconic photographs of the Mississippi Delta. Her breakout series of photographs, Delta Land, an extensive portfolio of photographs documenting the region, gained her renown. Clay plans to exhibit close to 20 photographs in the upcoming exhibition. The title of the exhibition is Delta Landscapes. Clay will emphasize new photographs from her forthcoming book, which is to be published by Steidl in 2019, but will also include some classics such as Dog on a Log from Delta Land.
One of the new photographs by Clay to be exhibited is Boat at Preacher Robinson’s House, near Friarson Chapel, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. The photograph of a jon boat, beleaguered by reeds, that appears to have been abandoned and left to rest on the bed of a dried up bayou is a definitive Clay image. The composition is stark. The boat is held captive — not just in place, but in time as well. The pensive image continues a visual narrative Clay has documented for years. Her haunting photographs of the Mississippi Delta are essential to telling the story of the land and its people. Clay has a keen aesthetic for the Southern Gothic, an authentic and independent vision.
Many of William Dunlap’s paintings to be featured in the exhibition echo the style of Regionalism that was prominent in American painting in the 1930s – 1940s. The paintings depict rural Mississippi scenes, often featuring Dunlap’s iconic Walker Hounds. The themes and material featured in these paintings – old cotton gins, “vernacular architecture”, dogs (obviously) and seemingly endless horizons – illustrate a world familiar to modern Mississippians, but which might seem alien, if not archaic, to people from outside the state. The paintings have a preternatural quality to them that is both captivating and mystifying. The largest painting in the exhibition, 32 Degrees Fahrenheit, has many such qualities. A Black Baldy – Angus bull is painted in the center of the canvas, almost a quarter from the top. He is alone in a snow-covered field, where hills and a quintessential Dunlap skyline loom in the background near the top of the canvas. Beneath the bull is stenciled in silver leafing 32 F. The bull is flanked on both sides by two ironing board covers attached to the canvas. The ironing board covers have been transformed by addition of eyeholes to represent what the artist describes as “religious vestiments.” The painting is stirring, a riddle. There is a vast amount of visual information to decipher – both present and absent.
Two installations by Dunlap will also be on display in the exhibition. Hernando Desoto’s Coffin is based on the legend that Chickasaw Indians killed Hernado Desoto near present day Memphis. Fearing the enemy would learn that their leader was dead, the Conquistadors packed Desoto into a hollow log and floated it down the river. Dunlap describes the story as a “7th grade civics lesson” and notes that “all sorts of flotsam and jetsam have floated down that river from Mississippi to New Orleans ever since.” Dunlap tells the story of discovering “a wormy chestnut hollow log in the mountains of North Carolina near Roaring Gap some 20 years ago.” He adds, “I borrowed a saw cut it in half, brought it home and conceived of the installation long before I ever saw it, first at the Katzen Museum in the spring of 2016.” The other installation, Things that can hurt you, is a collection of curiosities, including a preserved rattlesnake, a brick, a wasps’ nest and many other items that could hurt someone. These installations enhance the exhibition experience and relate well with the more traditional paintings on display.
Maude Schuyler Clay was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. After attending the University of Mississippi and the Memphis Academy of Arts, she assisted the photographer William Eggleston. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The National Museum for Women in the Arts, and the High Museum, Atlanta, among others. The University Press of Mississippi published her monograph DELTA LAND in 1999, which received the Mississippi Arts and Letters Award in 2000, and DELTA DOGS, which received the award in 2014. She was a recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award in 2015. Her most recent book, MISSISSIPPI HISTORY, with a foreword by Richard Ford, was published in 2015 by Steidl, who will also publish a new Landscapes book in 2019. She continues to live and work in the Delta.
William Dunlap has exhibited his work at Southside Gallery since 1993. Dunlap received a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of Mississippi. After graduating from The University of Mississippi, Dunlap taught at Appalachian State University and The University of Memphis. He has since become a full time artist, writer and lecturer. His work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums, including Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Academy of Science, Aspen Museum of Art, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Museum of Western Virginia, Albany Museum of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Cheekwood Fine Arts Center, Mint Museum of Art, Mississippi Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, the Lauren Rogers Museum; and is in numerous public, private and corporate collections including, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mississippi Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Lauren Rogers Museum, Mobil Corporation, Riggs Bank, IBM Corporation, Federal Express, The Equitable Collection, the Arkansas Art Center, the United States State Department, the U. S. Federal Reserve, and United States Embassies throughout the world. In addition to his vast exhibition record, Dunlap has also been the recipient of a number of grants and awards over the course of his distinguished career. In 2006 The University Press of Mississippi published, Dunlap, a comprehensive survey of his work. He is also the author of Short Mean Fiction: Words and Pictures.