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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

‘UnstillLife’ Exhibit at UM Museum Showcases Work of 38 Painters

Collection encourages viewers to re-examine ordinary and overlooked objects


‘Transitory Spaces: Flower and Fragments,’ by UM professor Philip Jackson, is part of a private collection. The painting is on display at the UM Museum as part of ‘The UnstillLife’ exhibit. Submitted photo

‘Transitory Spaces: Flower and Fragments,’ by UM professor Philip Jackson, is part of a private collection. The painting is on display at the UM Museum as part of ‘The UnstillLife’ exhibit. Submitted photo

A still life painting exhibition that goes beyond the ordinary is open at the University of Mississippi Museum. “The UnstillLife,” a collection by the painters’ association Zeuxis, features the many possibilities of still life with an eccentric take on the perspectives of 38 artists.

The museum will host an opening reception for the exhibit at 6 p.m. Tuesday (May 15).

“The University Museum is exceptionally pleased to exhibit this remarkably wide range of still life paintings, in the exhibition developed by the Zeuxis organization and called to our attention by art faculty member colleague Philip Jackson,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“Notable for the definition-broadening nature of the show in its inclusion of diverse styles that one might never think of as falling with the ‘still life’ category, the show is hung beautifully in our Temporary Exhibition Galleries.”

“The UnstillLife” exhibit has been displayed at galleries in Wilmington, Delaware; New York City; and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Jackson, UM associate professor of art and a member of Zeuxis, was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Oxford.

“I knew the quality of the work that would be presented and thought it would be a great opportunity for our community to see,” he said. “This exhibition revitalizes the genre with fresh interpretation.

“The uniqueness of this exhibition is about the clarity in which we see things and understand them. They are not your grandmother’s still life. Each artist reaches for ways to see anew their small world within our fast-paced culture while redefining the use of the still life.”

Still life painting has always been a second-hand genre and is rarely recognized for its contributions to our culture, Jackson said, noting that he hopes viewers will take a closer look at the works presented.

“I hope our viewers are able to see into the intimate world of these artists,” he said. “It’s a plea to re-examine the world around us, paying close attention to the overlooked.”

Jackson, who has focused on painting still life for 18 years, has two paintings in the exhibit from his “Transitory Spaces” series, both of which are now in private collections, where he examines the fleeting change of life.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Jackson will host a community lecture on “Still Life for the 21st Century” June 7 at the museum. The event is free and open to the public.

He also will host an adult studio workshop, “Painting the Light,” on June 15-16. The workshop costs $35 per person and includes a gallery talk and sketching session on Friday evening, followed by a still life painting studio session Saturday. It’s open for adults of all experience levels, and online registration is available at

Zeuxis was founded in 1994 by artist Phyllis Floyd along with several colleagues, including Rita Baragona and Tim Kennedy. Work by all three artists are part of the exhibit.

“In the 1990s sometime, I began to assess the condition of still life painting in the climate of the post-modernist art world,” Floyd said. “Prospects looked bleak. It was time to rally my forces, and I drew in still life painters one by one with the object of mounting group exhibitions.”

Since then, Zeuxis exhibitions have appeared in more than 50 galleries and museums across the country. For more information about the association, visit

The UM Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission to the museum and all its exhibits is free. For more information, visit