Leo Green, a master of art education student in the Department of Art and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi, will exhibit his work May 21 - June 4 at the university’s Museum of Art. An opening reception is planned today from 4-6 p.m.
“The show, named ‘Puppet Politics,’ is quite uncommon,” said Jan Siesling, director of the museum. “It is a life-size interactive puppet show, and the puppets represent cartoon-like social characters and political figures.”
A native of New Orleans, Green moved to Biloxi, where his interest in art developed. After attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, focusing on drawing and painting, he came to Southern Miss and developed an interest in sculpting.
Working as a laborer at the Camp Shelby P/X in between classes, Green also taught art for the Southern Miss School of Social Work’s Family Network Partnership. He graduated from Southern Miss in the fall of 2007 and is an art instructor at Mize Attendance Center, Raleigh High School and Taylorsville High School.
As busy as he is teaching, Green still pursued his graduate degree, honing his skills and interest of movement in sculpture.
“Discovering actual movement in an artwork allows the audience to become more involved in it, and the moment they spend with it will be more memorable.” Green said. “Movement creates numerous types of change in the outcome of my work and provides the audience with different experiences.”
For this show’s work, the recent presidential campaign provided much inspiration for the art.
“Sometimes we get the impression that the people we elect are like mindless puppets, controlled by others, who pull the strings behind the scenes. I want my audience to take back some control over the decisions our public officials make about our lives. So I decided to make life-size puppets,” he explained.
Green said his artwork illustrates control. His marionettes represent people from different social, economicl, racial and political backgrounds. They tell a story about “control and power and how they govern our daily lives.” They allow the audience to become the master in the show.
“My work may at first look sarcastic, but is in fact both playful and serious. It is playful because I don’t want people to be afraid to walk up and get involved in it. The serious side of my work deals with the many failings of human society. My artwork shows the same failings that the society produces,” Green said.
The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art is located in the Fine Arts Building at the southwest corner of campus. The hours are Tues.-Fri., noon-5 p.m. Admission to the museum and reception is free and open to the public. School and community groups are welcome by appointment. Call the Museum of Art at 601.266.5200 for more information.
Interactive Puppet Show
About The University of Southern MississippiThe University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.