Oct 14 2014 | by Zoe McDonald
Courtesy of The Daily Mississippian
Gallery 130 in the University of Mississippi Department of Art is hosting a nationally acclaimed artist for an exhibition and lecture. “Look at it/Think About it,” an exhibition of William Dunlap’s pieces opened Monday in Gallery 130.
William Dunlap is an artist, educator and traveler of the Southern states and beyond. His works are displayed around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art.
The University of Mississippi is Dunlap’s alma mater, and Dunlap said he was inspired by the South and Oxford during his time here.
The exhibition will include paintings, sculptures, mixed media and drawings by Dunlap, displaying some of his earliest works at UM. Dunlap’s latest work, a Grand Loyalty, also resides in the gallery.
Dunlap captures wide, scenic expanses as well as intimate aspects of nature in his paintings. Dunlap’s pieces evoke culture, history and a sense of peace. He encapsulates beauty, tradition and drama. Dunlap describes himself as a narrative artist. Dunlap said that looking at art should be thoughtful.
“It’s sort of like reading poetry,” he said.
Haley Toups, a sophomore art minor, saw great benefit in these opportunities.
“It gives me ideas for different ways of approaching my own artwork, and through the lecture, I can learn about the narrative behind all the hard work,” Toups said. “I love how often he uses the subject of nature since that is my favorite subject to base my artwork off of.”
Dunlap has spent time traveling around the South and has studios throughout. He has recently been doing work at a studio in Webster County, Mississippi.
Dunlap completed his undergraduate degree in education at Mississippi College in Jackson. He later graduated with an M.F.A. from the University of Mississippi. Dunlap said he was a mature artist when he graduated from UM. He has taught at both Appalachian State University and Memphis State University.
Dunlap recalls his years at UM in the art department fondly.
“The art department then was totally conducive to creative activity,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap considers the state of Mississippi very close to his heart.
“I always come back to Mississippi,” Dunlap said. “I like to say there’s a little Mississippi in everything I do.”
Dunlap has travelled and lived around the world and even toured the United States as part of the first integrated rock-n-roll band formed in the state.
Though a life similar to his can seem unattainable, Dunlap feels strongly that young artists should believe they have a chance.
There will be a lecture by Dunlap from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday in Gallery 130, followed by a reception afterwards from 3:30-5 p.m.
“I want my experience to be replicated to the students, but I want it to be better,” Dunlap said. “I think the arts are finely woven into the fabric of American society. They aren’t going away. They are only going to go up.”
The art department displays artists’ works throughout the year and try to host a well-known national or international artist at least once a year.
The exhibition and events are open to the public.