"Laundry Blues" portrait by Sherry Phillips Carlson
“Laundry Blues” by Sherry Phillips Carlson
South Mississippi artists explore the many themes of portraiture in “About Face,” a group exhibit featuring a variety of styles and mediums, on display at the Fine Art Gallery on the Jefferson Davis Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College through October 24. A closing reception will be held on October 24 at noon.

Portraiture is one of the oldest genres in fine art, beginning 5,000 years with the Ancient Egyptians. While portraits were once reserved only for the upper class and painted in an idealized manner, the art form evolved over time to celebrate the everyday person and capture a subject’s unique characteristics.

Featured artists in “About Face” are incorporating portraiture tradition with modern styles and sensibilities.

Helen Simpson describes her style as classical, using techniques that require “patience and perseverance.”

Chad Brown prefers a more outside-the-box approach, experimenting with techniques, such as applying acrylic paint with a Q-tip.

Tracy Williams draws her subjects on paper plates, enjoying their format and portability. “There is something that makes them a more appealing alternative to a sketchbook to me,” she said.

MGCCC alumnus Anthony Badon has taken what he learned from his art courses at the college and combined it with his own style. “My style is a mixture of realism and Pop art. I love bright colors. When I paint portraits, I try to capture intimate moments that move your heart,” he said.

Carolyn Busenlener, best known for her nonobjective style, “uses the power of color and loose brushstrokes to create an environment from which figure evolves.

“I want it to be a good painting first, and a portrait second. I am not interested in creating traditional portraits,” she said of works such as “Jimmy and Karen,” which features her children.

Herb Willey is watercolorist who primarily paints Coastal landscapes. “I spent a lot of time on watercolor portraits this last year, and it’s a challenge. I really want to continue devoting time to them,” he said.

His painting “Super-Agent Serena” features his wife dressed in a black trench coat in a playful, spy-like pose. “I try to capture an image that best portrays them as I see them,” he said of his approach to the portraiture. “I think I captured Serena’s ever-busy mind and her concentration on whatever occupies it.”

Sherry Phillips Carlson creates and teaches art in a variety of mediums and subject matter. “A portrait is so much more than a collection of features,” she said. “I’m all the time telling my students, ‘You don’t just jump right into the eyes, nose and mouth. You can tell who a portrait is of before you even add those if you get the structure right.’”

Participating artists include Sherry Phillips Carlson, Russell Hice, Anthony Badon, Jaszy Smith, Joely Corban, Tracy Williams, Zach Petersen, Carmen Lugo, Chad Brown, Tessa Rose Stockstill, Bronco Sloan, Helen Simpson, Herb Willey, Cecily Cummings, Rhonda Herring, Carolyn Busenlener, Sadako Lewis, Hannah Livingston Robinett and Catie Daniel.

There is no charge for the exhibit, and it is open to the public. The Jefferson Davis Campus is located at 2226 Switzer Road in Gulfport. The art gallery is located in the Fine Arts building, Building D.

Gallery hours are Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

For more information, contact gallery director Cecily Cummings at cecily.cummings@mgccc.edu or 228.897.3909.

“Jimmy and Karen” by Carolyn Busenlener
“Jimmy and Karen” by Carolyn Busenlener

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