Where To See Them
April 10th-June 30th, 2015
Mississippi Museum of Art
380 South Lamar Street
Jackson, MS 39201
MMA Hours of Operation:
Tues. – Sat.: 10 am – 5 pm
Sun.: Noon – 5 pm
The Ruins of Windsor
The Ruins of Windsor are in Mississippi’s Claiborne County where twenty-three Corinthian columns over 44 feet tall stand in a field, They are the remains of a vast mansion built by slave labor, finished in 1861, lost to a fire set in 1890 by a house-guest. Mysterious, magnificent, and troubling, the timeworn columns bear witness to the ambitious echo of ancient Greece in Mississippi. Eudora Welty wrote about and photographed these ruins. She organized picnics beside them.
In March of 2014 a sonar mapping team scanned the ruins of Windsor in order to create full-scale replicas of three of the columns. These will be on display at the Welty Biennial, rising from the lawn of the Mississippi Museum of Art, and reflected in the shining glass wall of the Jackson Convention Complex. This is the iconic image of the Biennial, classical Mississippi.
The inspiration of the stars over Jackson, especially the designs of the constellations and their legends, is anyone’s vision to share at the Welty Biennial, accompanied by living artists from Mississippi.
Inside the Mississippi Museum of Art nine Constellation sculptures will unwind like blossoming night flowers. They are created by James Seawright, born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1936. Instrumental to Seawright’s development as an artist was his boyhood discovery of machine tools at a friend’s house in Greenville, Mississippi, which launched his lifelong love of making objects by hand. Later, when serving in the U.S. Navy, he pursued available opportunities to work with new tools and materials, gravitating toward the machine shop on his ship and the hobby shops at the base.
The nine beguiling Constellation sculptures were constructed between 2001 and 2005. The works provoke meditation – and smiles. The Constellations blink and swivel. Shafts of light dart off their spinning mirrors. Twinkling glass bulbs are hung in patterns, reminiscent of constellations, above reflective jewel-toned bases studded with abstract shapes, like the landscapes of unknown planets.
Clarence John Laughlin photographs
With Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner, the surreal photographs of Clarence John Laughlin share a vision that sees a simultaneity of the classical world and the landscape of the South. Ninety of them will be on display at the Welty Biennial.
Laughlin was born in 1905 in Lake Charles, Louisiana and died in 1985 in New Orleans. He left behind 17,000 negatives, archived in the Historic New Orleans Collection. His book, Ghosts Along the Mississippi, published in 1948, revealed a portfolio of hallucinations: the relics of ancient Greece scattered in Southern fields. Laughlin thought of himself as story-teller; the titles of his photos are like small poems, among them Elegy to the Old South, Temple to a Misplaced Past, and The Besieging Wilderness. His famous photograph of the ruins of Windsor is titled simply Enigma.
The Pediment Sculptures
The fourteen pediment figures of the Mississippi State Capitol. half a block down from Welty’s childhood home on North Congress Street, are a good example of something so familiar as to be noticed every day in Jackson, yet rarely if ever looked at closely. Welty roller-skated under them on her way through the rotunda to get to her father’s office building on the other side. Sculpted in 1900, with an enthroned personification of the state at the center, surrounded by figures representing Poetry, Industry, and Science, huntsmen, farmers, white people, black people, and Native American, they are Mississippi’s version of the pediment of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
To inspire those attending the Welty to Biennial to focus, frame, and reflect the Welty Biennial has plans to reproduce the pediment sculptures, full-scale, and to bring them down to earth and within sight inside the central gallery of the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Greg Harkins Plantation Rockers
Eudora Welty enjoyed many a Mississippi day rocking on her porch or in her garden. Whether a sunny day or a cloudless night. inspiration could come her way via birdsong and stars.
Greg Harkins also draws inspiration from nature. Greg is world renowned for his craft creating Plantation Rockers that live in more than 20 countries and in the homes of presidents, celebrities, and world leaders. Greg uses techniques passed down from the mid-1800s, preserving a virtually lost craft. Greg hand picks trees – using hardwoods such as red oak, walnut, hickory, and persimmon – to make his chair parts. He cuts his trees, mills the lumber, turns all parts by hand, assembles chairs and other furniture, finishes, and sells his creations. Greg’s Plantation Rockers are truly an heirloom which will be passed down for generations.
Visitors to The Welty Biennial can find a quiet respite in one of Greg’s rockers on display at the Mississippi Museum of Art.
The March Circles by Mimi Garrard
I am Clarence John Laughlin by Gene Fredericks
Virtual sculpture by Mimi Garrard
Scanning of the pediment to recreate a replica