The University of Mississippi Museum will hold an opening reception for “Marie Hull: Mastery of Color and Form,” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday. The exhibit will run through June 11 and includes 12 paintings and drawings by Mississippi native artist Marie Hull.
The new show is a branch of the original exhibit “Bright Fields: The Mastery of Marie Hull,” which is also the title of Bruce Levingston’s book on Hull’s life and work. Levingston, the honors college artist in residence, will sign copies during the reception, and refreshments (including a Marie Hull signature cocktail) will be served.
Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter dubbed Oct. 22, 1975 “Marie Hull Day” for the artist who was born in Summit in 1890 and dedicated her life to her art. According to University Museum Collections Manager Marti Funke, “Marie Hull: Mastery of Color and Form” emphasizes different genres and media that Hull used and experimented with over the course of her career.
Levingston, whose biography and survey of Hull’s work includes more than 200 of her paintings and drawings, said Hull’s art tested and flourished within such genres.
“Her life spanned nine decades from 1890-1980, during which she explored impressionism, realism, portraiture and abstract expressionism,” Levingston said. “She excelled in all these genres bringing her own unique and powerful voice and spirit to each style.”
For Levingston, one piece in the museum’s exhibit stands out amongst the rest.
“One of the highlights will be her masterpiece, ‘Tenant Farmer,’ which was painted during the Great Depression,” he said. “It is one of her finest iconic paintings of the people the artist encountered during the dark and difficult days of the 1930s. Her virtuoso brushwork and deep artistic insight brilliantly captured the fear, pain and isolation that so many people felt during that period.”
The museum’s Membership, Events and Communication Coordinator, Rebecca Phillips, said Levingston’s knowledge of Hull will add a unique element to the reception, which she hopes will draw many newcomers.
“I am excited about the event and happy to celebrate a Mississippi artist,” Phillips said. “I hope we have a good crowd to show support for our exhibit. We always want to get new guests in the museum, so hopefully we will have someone who has never been here before.”
And for those who are unfamiliar with Hull, Levingston said he will provide context.
“I will give a brief talk on the history of Marie Hull’s life and work, her relationship to some of the citizens and artists of Oxford and the University of Mississippi, and her place in regional and national art history,” Levingston said.
It is Hull’s significance in art history that makes Thursday night’s reception important to Levingston.
“I am honored that the University Museum is hosting this event and is offering the University and Oxford communities a chance to see up close some of the exquisite works of this extraordinary Mississippi artist who had such a tremendous impact and influence on art and education in our state,” he said.