McComas exhibit featuring ‘outsider art’ from Jackson collection

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

A glue-and-glitter creation by the late Loy Allen Bowlin of McComb is among 16 works by various artists on display through Oct. 2 at Mississippi State’s McComas Hall Art Gallery. Photo: Loy Allen “Rhinestone Cowboy” Bowlin (1909-1995), no title, 1994.049.

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Artworks by the co-author of Mississippi State’s 2015 Maroon Edition book selection—as well as others by self-taught artists—are on display at the university.

Free and open to all through Oct. 2 in the McComas Hall Art Gallery, the exhibit titled “Here and Beyond: Outsider Art from the Mississippi Museum of Art” features 16 varied pieces. They range from visions of space ships to rural landscape memory paintings to observations of New Orleans street life.

Among them is a print made from an original painting by Denver Moore (1937-2012). Titled “We Are All Homeless Just Working Our Way Home,” it shares its name with the last line of this year’s Maroon Edition selection, “Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together.”

Moore is co-author of the 245-page novel released in 2006 by Thomas Nelson, a HarperCollins Publishers subsidiary. His art piece was donated to the MMA exhibit by Cerulean Gallery in Amarillo, Texas.

Among other self-taught artists being featured are Eula Crabtree (20th century), Roy Ferdinand (1959-2004), M.C. “Five Cent” Jones (1917-2003), Prophet Royal Robertson (1936-97), Juanita Rogers (1934-85) and Luster Willis (1913-94).

In addition to the Jackson museum and its Traveling Exhibition Endowment, the campus exhibit is supported by MSU’s Maroon Edition freshman common reading program and College of Architecture, Art and Design’s art department.

A 5 p.m. exhibition reception will take place Oct. 1 in the ground-floor gallery whose main entrance is located off the parking lot on McComas’ east side. The reception also is free and open to all.

In addition to Moore’s creation, the exhibit includes three works by self-taught artist Loy Allen Bowlin (1909-95), a Franklin County native who resided in McComb until his death.

Bowlin experienced a spiritual awakening of sorts in 1975 after hearing Glen Campbell’s hit song “Rhinestone Cowboy,” which he said inspired his passion to create colorful, glittery art works. Bowlin also favored embellished satin suits that, along with his distinctive artworks, earned him the nickname “The Original Rhinestone Cowboy.”

“The art on view was created sometimes for spiritual reasons and sometimes from the sheer pleasure of creating,” said Beth Batton, MMA’s curator of the collection. “Art by outsider artists was shaped less by an ambition to ‘make it’ in the art world and more by the ups and downs of life.”

Ron Hall, the other co-author of “Same Kind of Different as Me,” was keynote speaker for the university’s second Freshman Convocation held earlier this month.

MMA’s Traveling Exhibition Endowment is supported by significant private contributions that are matched by the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit www.msmuseumart.org.

Now in its seventh year, Maroon Edition is a university-wide program that encourages incoming freshmen to read the same book prior to fall-semester arrival. Throughout the school year, they discuss the selected work with other students, administration, faculty and staff members. For more, visit www.maroonedition.msstate.edu.

Part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, MSU’s art department is home to the Magnolia State’s largest undergraduate studio art program. It offers a bachelor of fine arts degree, with concentrations in graphic design, photography and fine art (ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture).

The McComas Art Gallery is one of the several departmental venues that regularly features traveling exhibits, student shows, and group and solo exhibitions by professional artists. Exhibit hours for the gallery are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, as well as by appointment. For more, visit bit.ly/MSUArtGalleriesFB.

Additional gallery information is available from Lori Neuenfeldt, MSU art department’s coordinator for gallery and outreach programs, at 662-325-2973 or LNeuenfeldt@caad.msstate.edu.

Complete information about the college and department is found at caad.msstate.edu, facebook.com/CAADatMSU and twitter.com/CAADatMSU.

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.