"Chinoiserie" by M.C Drake
“Chinoiserie” by M.C. Drake

Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Jefferson Davis Campus Fine Arts Gallery will host “M.C. Drake—Paintings, A Retrospective” from March 9-April 2, with a closing reception from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.

The Coast native is no stranger to creating unique designs in fabric and “weaving” stories on canvas. Drake is a former professor of costume design at California State University in Fresno, where she taught design, theatrical makeup, and costume history and construction for 20 years. She also designed theatrical and dance costumes for over 100 productions before retiring to Biloxi in 2004 and focusing on painting.

Her retrospective show features individual “threads” in the tapestry of her life–various mediums as well as subject matter ranging from Coastal landscapes and whimsical animals to historic fashion and Greek mythology—which all come together to create the full picture of her life.

The exhibit includes four paintings inspired by “The Odyssey,” including a work of mythology’s most famous tapestry weaver Penelope, who weaves a tapestry as she waits for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan War.

Drake’s biggest artistic influences have been Gustav Klimt, the contemporary artists carried by RJD Gallery and the Russian painter Andrey Remnev, whose work she describes as “historical, fascinating and surrealistic.”

“All these artists paint the figure, which I am fond of doing, especially with my costume background,” she said.

Drake discussed how her creative processes in theater are akin to developing a painting.

“In interpreting a play to be costumed, each character must be analyzed, because the costume is the first clue given to the audience about the character’s personality,” she said. “A painting likewise gives many clues about its meaning.”

“Working in theatre, one has the job/opportunity to tell a story, so yes, I think theatre has influenced me to be quite illustrative in my work.”

When Drake reflects on her past works and considers what styles or mediums she would like to try next, Drake is open to any possibility.

“When I start a painting, it never turns out the way I intended, so there’s always a surprise to look forward to.”

There’s no cost to view the exhibit and it is open to the public. The Jefferson Davis Campus is located at 2226 Switzer Rd, Gulfport.  The 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.

The college will be closed from March 16-20 for Spring Break.

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

Painting "Lightning Bugs" by M.C. Drake
“Lightning Bugs” by M.C. Drake
Painting "Penelope Weaves the Shroud" by M.C. Drake
Penelope Weaves the Shroud” by M.C. Drake

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