Painters, photographers and textile artists occupied the rooms of the Oxford Motel on Saturday night.
Oxford’s annual art show “One Night Stand,” organized by Erin Austen Abbott, returned after last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19.
This year’s show highlighted nine artists from across the United States. Each artist took over a motel room to display their work and patrons walked through the hotel to observe what the artists had to offer.
Abbott said that she was unsure of what the response would be. She expected it to be about half of what it usually is. Despite the uncertainty, the first hour of the event indicated a promising outcome.
“We’re already looking at probably 200 people already here, so I think that it’s already been a really great turnout,” Abbott said.
The artists shared Abbot’s sense of enthusiasm for the exhibition’s success, but each shared a different perspective on the importance of “One Night Stand.”
Capt. James V. Stovall, known as Capt. James is originally from Altadena, California, but works from Henderson, Nevada. Stovall said he likes working by himself but appreciates it when people can physically look at his work.
“A lot of the feelings that we feel when we see art happens when we see it in person, and there are so many things that get lost and cut off when you’re looking at a phone screen,” Stovall said.
Stovall also noted that the exhibition format was unique from any exhibition he had attended before and made the event more personal.
“I chose to look at this like a quick peek into my brain,” Stovall said. “You come in here and put something up, and just let everybody know this is who I am.”
Katherine George, a Memphis-based artist, displayed paintings made after leaving her previous job and dedicating herself to her art practice. “One Night Stand” is also important because it highlights a different side of Oxford, according to George.
“My interaction with this town has usually been in college, visiting friends who are in school here while we go to a game. It’s nice to see that other element of the city,” George said.
The patrons of the event echoed some of the artist’s opinions and offered a unique perspective on “One Night Stand.” KC Kelly from Greenwood, Mississippi, said that this was her first time making the event despite living in Oxford for years.
“I think this is unlike anything else that happens in town. This is a next-level immersive experience,” Kelly said.
Although “One Night Stand” highlights artists from across the United States, Kelly admired how the exhibition showcased Southern culture.
“A painting of a triple-stacked mobile home isn’t going to come from a painter from New York City, and being from the Mississippi Delta, that’s something that I think speaks to me more,” Kelly said. “I also love the fiber arts that are here too. I think that’s super ingrained in our Southern tradition, and this is a cool modern way to showcase that some of those traditions are alive and well.”