After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Ole Miss last year, Amy Webb took root in Water Valley, Miss., to cultivate both creative works of her own and spaces for community artists to showcase interdisciplinary work.
In her work, the Meridian, Miss., native illuminates nocturnal landscapes, utilizing vivid colors contrasted with dull tones to invoke a sense of both eeriness and tranquility within viewers.
Webb’s hallmark feature is her use of light, a common thread that she has woven throughout her latest works that focus on reflection within urban landscapes.
“My paintings of those scenes are kind of trying to invoke the spiritual nature of that time you get to be with yourself and your thoughts and maybe the anxiety or the gratitude you might feel at the end of a long day,” Webb said.
By taking part in UM Art’s “We’ve Always Been Here,” a show featuring the visual work of BFA alumni from the university who identify as queer, Webb aims to highlight the importance of LGBTQ+ perspectives.
“Queer people have always been here, whether they’re visible or not,” Webb said. “I think it’s just a reminder that I want students to feel safe on campus and people to be aware when they think, speak and act that queer people have always been here.”
Aside from painting in her studio, Webb can be found working at the End of All Music, Oxford’s independent record store, and immersed in the outdoors as a farmer at Yokna Bottoms Farm.
“It’s really important to me that I get that time outside and have a kind of physically active job. It helps me come to the studio feeling refreshed, and it does a great service to my mental health year-round,” Webb said. “So, I think that job kind of helps a lot in my artistic practice.”
Prior to attending Ole Miss, Webb spent time working at the Gumtree Museum of Art in Tupelo, Miss., and establishing her own identity as an artist by participating in the Secret Art Show. Within this collaborative community, the budding creative gained the confidence to pursue art professionally and inspire others to do the same.
“When I came to Oxford, there were times when I felt like art circles were a bit inaccessible to someone outside of academia,” Webb said. “Then, I met a small group of friends who were putting on these art shows that were similar to the Secret Art Shows I attended in Tupelo that included spoken word poetry, live music and artists.”
Soon after, the small artist collective bloomed into a widespread community called QUASAR. Now referred to as IRIS Arts Community, the Oxford-based nonprofit literature and arts community regularly hosts live music, art shows and poetry readings on the last Sunday of each month at Heartbreak Coffee.
“I want IRIS to be a platform for creative people to just share their work with friends and their community to build confidence and have a place to express all of that,” Webb said.
IRIS Arts Community will hold its next gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Heartbreak Coffee on the Square. More information about IRIS Arts Community and Amy Webb can be found on their Instagram profiles.