The MGCCC Jackson County Fine Arts Gallery announces the opening of the exhibit “Scrutiny: Portraits Through Eyes,” featuring the paintings of Traci Stover. The exhibit will be open to the public November 8 – December 13, with a reception and Artist’s Talk at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 15.
Mississippi artist and educator Traci Stover has been painting and drawing for more than 30 years. Her career has focused on exploring the observable world with an intense interest in organic objects, including bones, rocks and most recently, eyes. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, she received a bachelor of fine arts in painting and drawing from The University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in fine arts in painting and drawing from the American University in Washington, D.C. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in private collections across the United States. An established art educator, Stover has taught at Belhaven College in Jackson, Hinds Community College in Raymond and The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where she currently lives and maintains a studio.
“Scrutiny can mean both critical examination and minute observation,” Stover said. “In this series, I focus on the close investigation of the eye and how such a small element conveys so much about a person. The eye represents the whole and becomes a portrait of the person.”
Stover said Flemish artists Jan van Eyck and Roger van der Weyden inspire her with their ability to blend intense observation with a compassionate acknowledgement of the person before them. They used oil paints (a relatively new medium at the time) and mirrors and lenses to aid them in their observations.
“What was new technology in the 15th century is traditional to me,” she said. “I combine traditional materials and techniques while utilizing modern technology and point-of-view. I use oil paint, which is traditional, and acrylic, which is modern. The image is transferred to the surface using the traditional method of gridding, but it was created using the modern technology of a digital camera instead of mirrors and glass lenses.”
With a focus on the eye, letting it fill the square, Stover said that as she examines the subject, the portrait returns her gaze. “I hope the viewer will experience this mutual scrutiny as well,” she said.
The MGCCC Jackson County Fine Arts Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Marc Poole at 228.497.7684 or [email protected].
Photo: Caleb III is a portrait by Mississippi artist Traci Stover