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Released March 26, 2003

Southern Miss MUSEUM OF ART OPENS DOUBLE EXHIBIT OF STUDENT WORKS

HATTIESBURG - A double exhibition opens at The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art April 10 that features paintings by master of fine arts candidate Steve Strickland and student-created replicas of Chinese Han Dynasty tomb ceramics. The exhibits will be on display through April 25.

A native of Brandon, Strickland received his bachelor of fine arts in painting and drawing from Southern Miss in 2000. He will show approximately 20 new paintings together with a group of his studies, charcoal drawings and sketches in the C.W. Woods and Lok Galleries. In addition to completing his coursework, Strickland recently taught an introductory drawing class as a graduate fellow.

"Steve Strickland's artistic development is characterized by his perseverance, commitment and investigative spirit," said Janet Gorzegno, professor of art and coordinator of the M.F.A. program at Southern Miss. "His paintings are honest visual explorations that bring forth the unique flavor of the Mississippi landscape, a terrain known for its changeable nature that embraces both turbulence and serenity."

Gorzegno explained that the objective of the M.F.A. program is to "develop the student's skill and discipline required for sustained, self-directed creation of works of art." The program is based on professional standards embodying intensive studio work, critical analysis within the studio, the study of art history, and philosophical and aesthetic investigations.

M.F.A. students are required to propose and present an exhibition that represents an original creative project. They develop a body of work capable of sustaining a museum exhibition and a professional portfolio in preparation for a career in art. Equally, as a terminal degree, it enables successful candidates to teach at the college level.

The second part of the double exhibition will be devoted to contemporary interpretations of ancient Chinese ceramic sculptures created by students under the direction of instructor Barbara-Ann Carver Hunt.

"The Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.) was a defining period in China's history," Hunt said. "It signaled the development of urbanism, central government, and the development of Confucianism and Taoism. Elaborate tomb burials were also commonplace, with goods from everyday life accompanying the departed."

Students in Hunt's ceramics class have studied this context and created replicas - both fanciful and accurate - that recreate one aspect of these ancient tomb furnishings.

"We work with a group of students in Ceramics I and II who research historical projects, write papers and create interpretations of ancient works," Hunt said. "The beginning students start with the earliest works and later progress through history from Paleolithic through ancient Cycladic, Greek and Asian works."

The museum will open both exhibits with a free reception from 4-6 p.m.

Located in the Fine Arts Building at the southwest corner of the campus, the museum's hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m-5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. School and community group tours are welcome. For more information, call (601) 266-5200.

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July 16, 2003 9:11 AM

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