Pike School of Art – Mississippi artists in residence for Spring 2016 were Arden Cone and Millicent Kennedy. The residency took place from June 5 through June 18, 2016.
Arden Cone earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Studio Art from Hollins University, Roanoke, VA. She is currently a Masters of Fine Arts Candidate in Painting at Boston University, Boston, MA.
Espoused forever to its history, the South lives on. As an idea, it is perpetually covered in the dust of its antebellum sins. In the wake of these wrongdoings is a contemporary South fraught with racial tension, shame, and violence.. Cone’s art confronts these issues by addressing the idea of privilege. Her paintings are attempts to raise consciousness about the nuances one faces as he or she really studies America’s colonial antiquities. In her words, “It’s my own tension. I feel a love for the era’s time-honored decadence as much as I feel the guilt of being a modern Southern belle.”
Millicent Kennedy, born in Mendenhall, Mississippi, currently lives in Chicago, IL where she studied Printmaking at City Colleges of Chicago before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Printmaking from Northeastern Illinois University. She is continuing her studies at Northeastern Illinois University where she is a Master of Fine Arts Candidate in Printmaking.
Kennedy’s artwork focuses on efforts to document the fleeting but telling, details that often get lost. She uses fabric for it’s association with repetitive work, and connection to the body. This use of household objects creates contradictory contexts for the artwork, existing in both a fine arts sphere and in the functional world. The everyday environment sets up a stage on which time is recorded.
Pike School of Art – Mississippi artists in residence for Fall 2015 were Samwell Freeman, Mackenzie Hoffman, and Keith Walsh. The residency took place from October 12, through October 25, 2015.
Samwell Freeman, a Computer Vision researcher at Apple, developing software for large-scale construction of 3D images, completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the City University of New York. He has taught math and programming courses and led workshops on interactive art, Arduino, and 3D printing at Alpha One Labs, a hacker space in Brooklyn.
During his residency, Freeman worked on an interactive video installation called Beautalyzer. Beautalyzer displays the output and inner workings of a viewer-taught algorithm, which tries to recognize the beauty of images. The installation is comprised of wall-mounted screens and a 3D printed interface. Machine learning is an increasingly important part of our lives, influencing the news we read, the people we meet, and the things we buy. The Beautalyzer hopes to open up this black box of artificial intelligence. What we find may be frightening or enchanting, demonic or hilarious; in any case, it offers us cybernetic insight into the nature of beauty.
The Beautalyzer project explores the potential for collaborative learning between people and machines. Viewers are given the responsibility to teach the algorithm what is beautiful, by labeling images according to their own aesthetic judgment. Simultaneously, viewers are shown vivid illustrations of the algorithm’s effects.
Mackenzie Hoffman is an interdisciplinary artist living in Los Angeles, CA. She received her B.A. in Studio Arts from the University of Southern California, where she was a recipient of the Handtmann Prize for Photography, as well as the Neely Macomber Travel Prize. She is an alumna of the Mountain School of Art, Los Angeles.
Hoffman uses photography and video to explore the construction of regional identities and their filmic representations, with a primary focus on the contemporary american South. Recent projects have described the gradual encroachment of social change within her multi-generational Southern white family, producing works that are both sympathetic and frustrated. She photographs provincial iconography, including the southern landscape, in an ongoing study of history, location and image.
Hoffman used her time at PSA-MS to further her interest in the present day physical and personal landscapes of the American South and to focus on new video work.
While at PSA-MS, Keith Walsh worked on a project titled “The SNCC Mounds,” a poetic interpolation of the legacy of the McComb-area Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) engagements of the 1960s.
Walsh’s project continues his investigation of the Civil Rights and Black Panthers movements, within the larger geography of American liberation politics. The figure who links these two groups is the black SNCC activist Stokely Carmichael who, in 1964, was the full-time field organizer in Mississippi for the “Freedom Summer” voter registration drives, itinerant “freedom schools,” and protests. Various black residents, businesses, and churches in McComb housed or supported hundreds of SNCC and other civil rights workers during Freedom Summer and were met with repeated police arrests, neglect by governmental authorities, KKK cross-burnings and bombings. The firsthand experience of the sites, people, and histories within McComb were essential to developing Walsh’s project.
While in the region, Walsh conducted research at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, the state capital, and, in New Orleans; and visited cultural resources such as Hilda Casin’s Black History Gallery and met civil rights pioneer, Brenda Travis. To come to PSA-MS, Walsh won The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 2016 Traveling Fellowship. Walsh received his BFA from Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, West Hartford CT and a dual MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University, Boston.