Southside Gallery’s ‘Night Sun’ exhibit focuses on perception, experience of light

Posted on Aug 26 2016 - 8:01am by Audrey Hall
Matthew Lopas' "Middle Landing." Courtesy Southside Gallery.

Matthew Lopas’ “Middle Landing.” Courtesy Southside Gallery.

When one thinks of painting, they tend to assume natural light is necessary. Philip Jackson, who curated “Night Sun for Southside Gallery, knows better.

The gallery arrived on Aug. 16, and represents an art culture focused on perception and the experience of paintings, particularly those dabbling with artificial light. The exhibit ends Sept. 10, but not without having introduced Oxford to the world of painting perceptually.

“I asked Philip Jackson to create the show,” said Wil Cook, director of Southside Gallery. “We initially planned a Perceptual Painters Collective exhibit, and it morphed into Philip’s show. For the painting professor at Ole Miss to curate our exhibit is amazing. The artists are all either contemporaries of Philip or are like-minded. He chose the emphasis on artificial and unnatural light.”

Philip Jackson, professor at the University of Mississippi and an experienced artist himself, was the mind behind the exhibition’s concept and vision. He invited both artists from the Perceptual Painters Collective as well as artists from around the region.

My goal in this exhibition was to bring attention to the vast number of artists still committed to the act of observing,” he said.

“One painting that I really like in the exhibit is ‘Cotton Street at Night by Peter Van Dyck,” Cook said. “’Books’ by Philip Geiger is another favorite of mine. They’re all outstanding artists. The whole show is excellent. You get to see a lot of different artists who all have a similar vision of how they’re painting and why.”

Jackson said he knows several of the artists personally, including David Jewell and Matt Klos, who attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, with him. Jewell and Klos introduced Jackson to the Perceptual Painters Collective.

“It’s a real honor to be involved,” said Logan Blanco, one of the featured artists in the exhibit. Blanco teaches at Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio and is a member of the Perceptual Painters Collective along with a number of the other featured artists.

Southside Gallery

Neil Callander’s “Dusty’s Workspace.” (Courtesy Southside Gallery.)

“I paint local areas in and around San Antonio,” he said. “Trees, in particular, are a very powerful motif for me. There are motifs you experience, which is how I make my paintings a perceptual experience. I work really slow for a number of reasons, mainly my full-time teaching job and family responsibilities. Being a working artist has a lot of factors going on, so you have to come out disciplined.”

Collaborating with the members of the Perceptual Painters Collective for a new artistic experience involving artificial light was an idea that struck Jackson before he was even approached by Southside Gallery for the curating job.

“My inspiration for ‘Night Sun was born from an exhibition I saw while visiting London several years ago,” he explained. “The late British artist Euan Uglow exhibited a number of paintings in an exhibition he titled, ‘Night Paintings.’ Each painting was created under artificial light. By the appearance of his paintings in his exhibition and the title he chose, ‘Night Paintings,’ one certainly would think the paintings might have been created during the night. However, the real impetus for the work was simply the desire to create an invariable stretch of light and unchanging climate to complete his paintings at any hour.”

Jackson added, “Unmistakably, the effect of light is what was unusually distinct with those works, and I think this is the defining characteristic of our show.”

Jackson’s emphasis on light and the idea of perception brought a wonderful art exhibit to Oxford, one that illuminates both the creative experience and the experience of the observer. The exhibit ends on Sept. 10, and there will be an artists reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8.