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Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries: Two New Exhibitions on Display Jan. 13 to Feb. 17, 2012

Mattie Kelly Arts Center


<i>Santa Maria Novella</i> by Elizabeth Austin.
Santa Maria Novella by Elizabeth Austin.

12/13/2011 - The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries at Northwest Florida State College begin the new year with two exciting exhibitions, opening January 13, 2012. The public is invited to celebrate the artists, and meet Duncan Baird and Cetin Oguz, at an opening reception on Friday, January 13, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. The galleries are open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and 90 minutes prior to most evening Mattie Kelly Arts Center Mainstage and Sprint Theater performances. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries are always free and open to the public. (The college and its arts galleries are closed December 17, 2011 to January, 3, 2012.)

The McIlroy Gallery will play host to Worlds Apart, a two-man show featuring the works of Duncan Baird and Cetin Oguz. Both artists currently make their homes in the Deep South, but their backgrounds are strikingly different. Baird was born in Greenville, MS, and earned an MFA from the University of Wyoming. Oguz was born in Istanbul, Turkey; he studied art at Mimar Sinan University before moving to the U.S., ultimately finishing his MFA at Memphis College of Art. Both artists are Associate Professors of Art at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS.

For Baird, accepting a teaching position in Mississippi was a return to his roots, but for Oguz, it was the beginning of a new life on the other side of the world. The artists have different cultural, geographical, and artistic backgrounds, but their ideas about art-making coincide: both are sensitive to a world environment, to the actual process of making art, and to the possibilities and limitations of the materials they use. Baird creates abstract sculptures, often using natural materials that bespeak connection to the spirit of the land. Oguz uses drawing, painting, and mixed-media works to explore the human condition and to investigate his own history, culture, and beliefs. In Worlds Apart, the two artists find common ground as each brings his own perspective to the show.

On display in the Holzhauer Gallery, viewers will be enchanted by the work of Elizabeth Austin. In Cassetina, the Magic Box, Austin offers us an intimate view of her decorated miniatures. Her cassetinas, which is Italian for "little boxes," are framed in hand-crafted Florentine wood and feature ethereal paintings inside. She uses a reverse painting process that is evocative of techniques used by artists from Europe, India and China to create stained glass. Austin suspends reflective materials like holographic foils in clear acrylic medium and layers it onto transparent acrylic blocks. She has refined this method by adding multiple layers of paint embedded with mica and other new materials. Painted on the back of the blocks, the paintings suggest three dimensions when viewed from the front. Her subject matter is drawn from nature and has an otherworldly quality to it. Additionally, works from her Nocturne series will appear.

Austin received her studio art from Lawrence University in Wisconsin. She also studied Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and parts of Europe. In addition, her work is included in several permanent collections in Tokyo, New York and Chicago. She splits her time between Hanover, New Hampshire, and Paris, France. This exhibition is organized through Katharine T. Carter & Associates of New York.

The Front Hall of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries will feature works by American master and perennial local favorite, Emil Holzhauer, from the Northwest Florida State College Permanent Collection. This second cycle of the Adopt-a-Painting program showcases works of art in need of cleaning or restoration.

Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Closed Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays College Closed: December 17, 2011 to January 3, 2012.