Despite cold weather, Southside exhibit looks toward spring

Posted on Feb 21 2019 - 5:50am by Jeanne Torp

Southside Gallery on the Square is hosting its February Floral Exhibit, which runs until Saturday. Although this showing features 13 artists’ takes on flowers, anyone who’s been in Oxford since the start of the spring semester can attest that the exhibit is quite a contrast to the persistent cold weather.

“Floral works are … usually pretty bright,” said Wil Cook, director of Southside Gallery. “I thought a colorful show during the winter might appeal to our audience, considering it can be a pretty grey time, and it has been lately.”

Photo by Jade Richardson

All of this exhibit’s artists have shown pieces at Southside before. Many are natives of Mississippi or Ole Miss alumni, and all are from the South.

“For this particular show, I selected representational artists who I knew had painted floral paintings in the past and a couple of abstract painters who have exhibited work inspired by flowers,” Cook said.

Among these artists is sculptor Rod Moorhead, an Oxonian who started displaying his artwork at Southside in 1993. Moorhead might be familiar to Ole Miss students as the hands behind the James Meredith statue on the university’s campus.

Moorhead usually focuses on human subjects. He said he hasn’t sculpted a flower in a while but was able to combine his expertise with this month’s focus.

My piece (for the February exhibit) is a female leg, which serves as a vase, holding a copper rose. The rose is 3-D printed and electrotyped,” Moorhead said.

Photo by Jade Richardson

While the artists on display for the exhibit did not directly collaborate on any pieces, Moorhead said that he bounced ideas off of and exchanged advice with his wife, Younok Jung, who also has a piece in the exhibit. Jung, a Korean native who has lived in Mississippi for the past 20 years, contributed a painting of a cat and peony to the show.

Jerrod Partridge, who was part of an exhibit with Jonathan Kent Adams last year, provided a series of drawings done with a dip pen and walnut ink. In keeping with his previous work, Partridge’s drawings related to everyday life.

Photo by Jade Richardson

“My work is completely inspired or derived from observations of day-to-day life,” Partridge said. “This has the potential to seem monotonous and boring, but in reality, new and interesting things happen around us on a daily basis.”   

Partridge credited his wife, a floral designer named Jessie, as an inspiration for these particular works and said a piece of art is “much more interesting and meaningful to me when she is a part of it.”

Moorhead, Jung and Partridge’s works represent just a small part of the exhibit’s themes and mediums, and the other contributing artists include Jonathan Kent Adams, Jere Allen, Brooke P. Alexander, Carl Blackledge, Charlie Buckley, Coulter Fussell, Ansley Givhan, Philip R. Jackson, Spence Townsend and Carlyle Wolfe. Cook said this variety is typical of most Southside shows.

“Since we are one of only two galleries in Oxford, we don’t focus on a particular genre of work,” Cook said. “‘Contrast’ is a good word to describe how our shows change, as they can be strikingly different from one to the next.”