Thursday, December 13, 2012


Number: an independent journal of the arts for Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas has published an article which I wrote in the current issue, No. 73. The article is about the Mississippi Art Faculty Juried Exhibition at the Lauren Rogers Museum in Laurel, MS this past spring.. I was fortunate to be included in this incredible exhibition which highlights artwork being produced by Mississippi's Art Faculty of colleges and universities.  Click here to see the current issue of Number:.  And here is my painting that was included in the show...

Pearl River #5
Oil on collaged handmade paper

Friday, November 2, 2012

Worth Reading

Recently, my friend and fellow Mississippi artist Ron Lindsey introduced me to a twice-weekly newsletter by the artist Robert Genn . I wanted to read the newsletter for a month or so before recommending myself, and have found that there are some very accessible insights in his writing.  It is worth reading.  Here is his most recent write-up...

Two artists

November 2, 2012

Because this is a bit personal, I'm not using their real names. They're both about 
40 years old.

"Jack" got a BFA and then an MFA from a Midwestern University. He's visited 
many of the major contemporary art museums and follows the work of several
 "important" contemporary painters. He's written articles on Philip Guston and 
others. He subscribes to several art magazines and is "the most knowledgeable 
art-guy in any discussion." After university he worked for a while in a commercial 
art gallery. He sometimes writes me long, well-informed letters. He's painted 
eleven large paintings (two unfinished) since leaving school. He's not represented
by any gallery. He thinks you need to move to New York and "get lucky" with a 
dealer who  "really represents you."

"Jill" took two years of art school and then quit. She pays little attention to other 
artists. She subscribes to no art magazines but has taken several workshops. Her 
hobbies include bowling and travelling. At one time she also worked in a 
commercial art gallery. On two or three occasions she's written to me. She's 
painted "approximately two thousand paintings" since leaving school. She's
 represented by four commercial galleries in four, well-separated mid-sized 

There's a great story in David Bayles and Ted Orland's Art and Fear. Here it is: 

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class 
into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded 
solely on the quantity of the work they produced, all those on the right solely on 
its quality. His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in 
his bathroom scales and weigh the work in the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of 
pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B" and so on. Those being graded on "quality,
" however, needed to produce only one pot--albeit a perfect one--to get an "A". 
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of the highest 
quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that
 while the "quantity" group was busy turning out piles of work--and learning from 
their mistakes--the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the 
end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of
dead clay."

Best regards,


PS: "Artists get better by sharpening their skills or by acquiring new ones; they 
get better by learning to work, and by learning from their work." (David Bayles 
and Ted Orland)

Esoterica: Both subscribers Jack and Jill are thoughtful and enthusiastic artists. 
Art is central to their lives. And while success and "being able to function as a
full time artist" may not be important to some of us, their current situations are 
quite different. Jack rents an apartment and makes $2150 per month (plus tips 
and benefits) as an airport porter. Jill works daily in her converted garage in a 
home she now owns. These days she's averaging $18,000 per month. She has "no 
To receive the newsletter click on this link...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dinners a l'art

Back in May I had the privilege of participating in a fundraiser for the Mississippi Museum of Art.  Fellow Jackson artist William Goodman and I collaborated at one of the dinners titled "Dinners a l'art" put on by the Board of Trustees at Gallery 119 in downtown Jackson.  I wrote an article about our experience for Number: an independent arts journal published for the tri-state region of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  On their website you get a pdf of the publication, and you can become a member to support the non-profit Number:inc and receive the journal in print quarterly.  The summer issue, No. 72 has a collaboration theme.  Below you can see the pieces William and I created together.
"Dinner Star"
Mixed Media on handmade paper
"Take out"
Mixed Media on panel

William Goodman and me (Jerrod Partridge)
Courtesy Mississippi Museum of Art

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Inaugural Cedars Juried Art Show

In the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson sits the oldest residential structure in the city.  The Cedars, as it is now called, was built circa 1840, and was almost taken over by multi-residential development but was saved by the Fondren Renaissance Foundation in 2003.  It became a community center and hosts a broad range of events, one of which is an annual series of four art shows.  A new show was created this year and has proven to be one of the most successful exhibitions ever held at the Cedars with attendance to the opening reception estimated at over 500 people.  The show, which was sponsored by Jan and Lawrence Farrington, is called The Cedars Juried Art Show, and it is intended to be an annual event. 
The concept of the new show was to bring in high caliber work from artists around the state of Mississippi.  This not only benefits the residents of Jackson who get to see the work but also benefits people throughout the state by introducing them to this unique neighborhood that has an incredible focus on the arts.  
To set the high standard expected from this exhibition internationally acclaimed Mississippi artist William Dunlap was asked to jury it.  He selected approximately 99 pieces from the 265 that were submitted.  This represented 90 artists from across the state making for a very diverse and unique show.  Dunlap also selected his favorite pieces from the group to receive cash prizes. 
The exhibition only lasts through the end of September so get out there to see it soon.  Gallery hours are Tuesday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00 pm.

Paul Fayard (Fourth place winner)
"Fondren Morning"

Laurilyn Fortner (Third place winner)
"Friday, Saturday, Sunday"
Oil on Canvas
John Gibson (Second place winner)
"Trees No. 3"
pen and ink

Heidi Pitre (First place winner)
"Her flame was about to go out"
Oil on canvas
Robert Crowell
"Warrior II"









Friday, July 20, 2012

Visions from a Visionary

What would happen if we as a society made it more of a habit to follow true visionaries? defines a visionary as "given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes."  Could we make an effort to make unpractical ideas into practical ones? 

A number of years ago a mural emerged on a two-story building on Fortification St. in the Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson.  It was the talk of the town.  Some people were outraged, others were enthused.  It was a unique montage of Southwestern and Native American style imagery gradually covering the entire south and west sides of the building.  One of the most impressive images in the mural was a Native American face stretching the entire two stories on the west facade.  Unfortunately, that side was painted over.  The south facade mural remains.  The mural was painted by a local excentric artist named Patrick Grogan whom I believe was living in the building at the time.

As voices were heard complaining that Belhaven is an historic district and that the mural shouldn't be allowed I wondered what would happen if we followed Patrick's lead.  What if the neighborhood embraced and even encouraged the idea of artists painting murals on the facades of Fortification properties, most of which needed face lifts anyway? That with the upcoming revitalization of Fortification St. could turn that area into an international tourist destination.  Can you envision it?

Many years have passed since the mural was done, but Patrick has not stopped painting.  There was recently an extensive exhibition of his work at the MS Arts Center.   A majority of the work followed the Southwestern aesthetic of the mural.  It is at the same time bizarre, beautiful and intriguing. 

His work was showing at the same time as two other young painters, Greg Gandy who works at the North Midtown Arts Center, and Tristan Barlow.  Their work complemented each other's well but was not helped by the deteriorating conditions of the MS Arts Center galleries. 

Here is a small sampling of the work...

Greg Gandy

Greg Gandy
"Clippin a Leaf"

Greg Gandy
"Sad Friends"

Patrick Grogan
House on Fortification St.

Patrick Grogan

Patrick Grogan

Patrick Grogan
"Full Spread"

Patrick Grogan
"Jesus in the Sky with Diamonds"

Patrick Grogan

Tristan Barlow

Tristan Barlow
"Still life"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Arts and Crafts... what's the difference?

There is a remarkable show of quilts hanging right now at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland by the late Gwendolyn Magee.  I was only vaguely familiar with her work prior to visiting the show recently, and I never had the opportunity to meet her before she passed away last year.  I was primarily familiar with her work in the permanent collection at the Mississippi Museum of Art.  Her work often attacks images of race and injustice head-on like a visual steam train of which you cannot get out of the way.  Narratives of slaves with bloody slashes on their backs, one pooring arsenic in her master's supper, a man hiding in the shadows of his home defending it from those burning a cross on his lawn,  even the death around the New Orleans Superdome after hurricane Katrina.  She successfully avoids being trite and sentimental in her narratives.  The amazingly beautiful craftsmanship of the quilting juxtaposed with the hard core imagery is as powerful as any art should expect to be.  

Fortunately she gives us some relief from the emotionally charged narrative work and produces more traditional patchwork quilts as well, with a superb delicacy and uniqueness.  However, it was the narratives that lingered with me.  They are not images you might expect to come across in an environment like a craft center. So it got my mind to wondering, what is a craft?  Gwen's work hangs in both the Art museum, and the Craft center, so is there a difference?  Is there a fine line, a fuzzy line, or no line at all?  

I began the search for an answer by trying to figure out what the Craftsmen's Guild of MS uses as a criteria for acceptance.  It seems pretty open ended.  Primarily the work has to be three dimensional, hand made, and show a level of mastery of the material.  Apparently there was a little question at first about Roy Adkins' mixed media pieces.  Roy is a local photographer and the pieces look like work you would find in a typical art gallery, but when he explained that in his work pieces of canvas were sewn together then his energetic pieces were fully embraced and welcomed into the fold.  

I soon realized that the Craftsmen's Guild and the Craft Center were not trying to define what a craft is or isn't, they are just trying to define the culture of their own organization. says that a craft is "an arttrade, or occupation requiring special skill, especially manual skill".  Art itself can hardly be defined at all other than something created by a human being wherein if he calls it art it must be (sorry, what the elephants do isn't art).  Most art requires some sort of craftsmanship, though not all.  Stretching a canvas, sizing it, priming it, even painting it is all craft.  

So my answer is no, there is no difference between art and craft.  Some work rises to the level of fine art, some doesn't. There has to be a difference in quality of art, but that is a whole other discussion.  Art is wonderfully undefinable and will always continue to challenge, excite, entertain, and fulfill us as long as there are living breathing people on this Earth with the God-given gift of creativity.

 Gwen Magee
"86 Lashes to Go"

Gwen Magee
"Full of the Faith"

Gwen Magee
"Over a Way That with Tears Has Been Watered"

Gwen Magee
"Yassa Massa, Yo Dinner Won't Neva Be Late No Mo!"

Gwen Magee
"Jewel Fire"

Gwen Magee
"Not Tonight"

Roy Adkins

Roy Adkins

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Art in the back yard part 2

This past summer I put almost everything on hold to focus on building myself a new studio.  This blog was put on what was supposed to be a three month break and it turned into a six month hiatus.  I'm not apologizing though, and won't bore you with excuses.  

What I am sorry about is how few art shows I have actually visited lately.  I have missed the opportunity to write about and share thoughts on some really nice shows like the Clarence Morgan show at the MSU School of Architecture and completely missed seeing shows that I wanted to check out like the Dan Piersol and Maureen Donnelly exhibition at Fischer Galleries.  I did make Richard Kelso's annual December show at Fischer, and you may still be able to catch some of it if you're lucky.  

Clarence Morgan

Dan Piersol

So I've decided that I will return to the passions of my children and their love of Andy Goldsworthy.  previous post  At some point early this past summer my 5 year old and soon to be 4 year old asked to watch the movie about "the guy who makes things".  Could any of us ask for a better title than that?  The dreams and inspiration after watching Rivers and Tides are evident in their eyes, and I am right there with them.  It never fails that after watching this documentary they are ready to create.  My son decided that we should make a stone arch like the ones Andy makes.  Problem number 1: we don't live in a rocky environment.  Problem number 2: that sounds like a lot of work, and I am going to have to do it all myself.  Problem number 1 was solved when I found some chunks of broken concrete.  Problem number 2 couldn't be solved.  So here we go...

The first arch...


he was devastated...

the second arch...


as did the third and maybe the fourth, I can't remember now how many of them I made.  In the documentary Andy talks about getting to know the stone as you are working with it.  There is a lot of truth to that, and finally...

we (I) did it.

But the story doesn't end there.  In the documentary Andy says "the very thing that brings the work to life is what will cause its death".  In his case it is nature, and in my case it is a 5 year old boy with a soccer ball.  Apparently after two weeks our stone arch began to look more like a soccer goal than a piece of artwork.  He was heartbroken though, and there is probably a good lesson in there about how we become too comfortable and careless with things around us that we care for... be it art, religion, relationships, or whatever.  

In order to keep this blog post from being completely nostalgic I wanted to share some new thoughts on Andy's work.  There is an obvious connection between Andy's work and the environmental or land art in the United States from the late 60's and early 70's, but his aesthetic seems quite different from most Westerners.  During the same time period there was an art movement in Japan called the Mono-ha.  This movement was also environmental in nature, but the work has that certain something that Japanese work has.  A simple beauty and elegance that is indicative of the culture.  This overall Japanese aesthetic is apparently derived from traditional tea ceremonies and is called Wabi-Sabi.  In Leonard Koren's book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, he says that Wabi-Sabi is "a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.  It is a beauty of things modest and humble.  It is a beauty of things unconventional."  I think that Andy Goldsworthy may be Scottish, but he is really Japanese at heart.