Tupelo Hardware Company’s Arts Connection

Weather vanes on display in the front window at Tupelo Hardware Company

Weather vanes are displayed in the front window at Tupelo Hardware Company.

Household supplies, tools, and everything else from those annoying flying-monkey toys to iron cookware fill the shelves of the Tupelo Hardware Company, a three-story, brick store located on the corner of West Main Street and South Front Street in downtown Tupelo. A worn piece of masking tape marks the spot on the wooden floor where Elvis Presley is said to have bought his first guitar, and a stand up of Elvis with his guitar is in the window.

An Elvis Presley cutout, a guitar, and surveying supplies stock another display window at the store.

An Elvis Presley cutout, a guitar, and surveying supplies stock another display window at the store.

The store’s president and owner, George H. Booth II, is an arts supporter who serves on the board of the Gumtree Museum of Art. Having grown up in Tupelo, he knows more than one artist and collector in the area. Judging from his children’s creative endeavors, his love for the arts is shared by his family. His son, George H. Booth III, enjoys playing banjo and guitar for fun. He also makes the fourth generation of the Booth family to help operate the store, which the Booths opened in 1926. Writer Catherine Lacey is George II’s daughter and lives in New York. Her first novel, Nobody Is Ever Missing, was published last year and has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker. In an interview with Louise Scothern for Granta, Lacey mentions that she majored in visual art and in creative writing in college.

Nobody Is Every Missing, a novel by Catherine Lacey. Book shot courtesy of FSG Originals.

Nobody Is Every Missing is a novel by Catherine Lacey. Photograph of book courtesy of and (c) copyright FSG Originals.

George Booth II and George Booth III at the store

George H. Booth II and George H. Booth III pause for a photograph at the store.

Within about 30 minutes of my meeting George II, he had phoned two artists and a collector and had jumped in the car with me to navigate me to Ashley Studio Pottery. Laura and Michael Ashley opened their studio and showroom in Tupelo in 2014. Stay tuned for future posts about them and their work.

Michael Ashley of Ashley Studio Pottery

Michael Ashley of Ashley Studio Pottery

shelves, flying monkeys_750 pixels

Shelves hold everything from linseed oil canisters to caps to a cardboard box with flying monkey toys.

Sources

Informal interview by Beth Batton with George H. Booth II, January 26, 2015.

“Welcome To Tupelo Hardward Company, Inc.,” Tupelo Hardware Company website, http://www.tupelohardware.com/aboutus.php.

Catherine Lacey, http://www.catherinelacey.com/.

Scothern, Louise, “Interview: Catherine Lacey,” Granta, 14 January 2014, http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/Interview-Catherine-Lacey.

John ________, “Tupelo Hardware & Elvis Part 3 – Johnson’s Sept 08 Trip,” YouTube.com. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD0sGYF_vkg.

Except where noted, all photographs are copyright (c) Beth Batton and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Southside Gallery: Mythos

Mythos installation

Mythos installation

On view at Southside Gallery, Oxford, Mississippi, until April 10 is Mythos.  The exhibition presents three different aspects of mythology as interpreted by Hailey Hodge, Seth Thibodaux, and Whitney Turnipseed, who are visual artists in the MFA program at The University of Mississippi.  Sculptures and two-dimensional, mixed media artworks represent the story of Icarus, fairy tales, and constellations.

Title wall for the exhibition, Mythos, which features the work of three graduating MFA students of the University of Mississippi

Title wall for the exhibition, Mythos, which features the work of three graduating MFA students of The University of Mississippi.

Hailey Hodge, Cosmogony. ink on Plexiglas. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Hailey Hodge is challenging the ancient mythology on constellations as she maps out her own contemporary myths by revealing today’s gods in the stars.” -Southside Gallery. ARTWORK: Hailey Hodge, Cosmogony. ink on Plexiglas. Copyright (c) the artist.

Hailey Hodge, Abledo 100%. ink on steel. Copyright (c) the artist.

Hailey Hodge, Abledo 100%. ink on steel. Copyright (c) the artist.

Hailey Hodge, installation view of Spectroscopy, Cosmogony, and Abledo 100%. Copyright (c) the artist.

Hailey Hodge, installation view of Spectroscopy, Cosmogony, and Abledo 100%. Copyright (c) the artist.

Seth Thibodaux, Chariot of the Sky.  screenprint on Solartex, charcoal, copper, rivets. Seth Thibodaux, Wing 1. steel, aluminum, and copper. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Seth Thibodaux is representing historical myths that encapsulate flight, such as the story of Icarus, and metaphorically transposing the reality of flying with the actual mechanics of modern day aviation.” -Southside Gallery. ARTWORK on wall: Seth Thibodaux, Chariot of the Sky. screenprint on Solartex, charcoal, copper, rivets.   On pedestal: Seth Thibodaux, Wing 1. steel, aluminum, and copper. Copyright (c) the artist.

Seth Thibodaux, Don't Fly Too Close to the Sun. screenprint on Solartex, charcoal, copper, rivets. Copyright (c) the artist.

Seth Thibodaux, Don’t Fly Too Close to the Sun. screenprint on Solartex, charcoal, copper, rivets. Copyright (c) the artist.

Whitney Turnipseed, Once Upon a Time. acrylic and paper on wood. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Fairytales are a strong influence in Whitney Turnipseed’s series as she sympathizes with the classical story of ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ and associates it to her experiences with the American foster system.” -Southside Gallery. ARTWORK: Whitney Turnipseed, Once Upon a Time. acrylic and paper on wood. Copyright (c) the artist.

Whitney Turnipseed, Abandon. acrylic and paper on wood. Copyright (c) the artist.

Whitney Turnipseed, Abandon. acrylic and paper on wood. Copyright (c) the artist.

For more information about this exhibition or these artists, please contact Southside Gallery at southside@southsideartgallery.com or at 662-234-9090.

All photographs are copyright (c) Beth Batton and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

To comment on this post or to write to the Mississippi Byways project:

Southside Gallery: Kaleidoscope

Southside Gallery is on the Square in Oxford

Southside Gallery on the Square in Oxford

Artists’ interpretations of mythology and the kaleidoscope are on view March 9 to April 10, 2015, at Southside Gallery in Oxford.  Two group shows, Kaleidoscope and Mythos, feature recent work by graduating University of Mississippi MFA students. I’ll first share some installation views of Kaleidoscope, with artwork by Terry LynnStacey Rathert, Elise Robbins, and Preston Tolbert. Images from Mythos will follow in a later post.

Stacey Rathert, Tea for Three. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Stacey Rathert’s allegorical ideas on the kaleidoscope, which are deeply rooted in her childhood, are physically thrilling as she displays intricate patterns of images that juxtapose what is expected and what is true about herself.” -Southside Gallery. Above, Stacey Rathert, Tea for Three. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Terry Lynn explores personal and social identity in his artwork, incorporating other media into his paintings that are as diverse as the undulating shapes at the end of the kaleidoscope.” -Southside Gallery. Above and below, Terry Lynn, Roots. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

 

 

 

 

 

Preston Tolbert, Platter 1. soda fired stoneware. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Preston Tolbert’s ceramic objects will elucidate the magical experience of gazing into a kaleidoscope to view the swirling colors and shapes.” -Southside Gallery. Above, Preston Tolbert, Platter 1. soda fired stoneware. Copyright (c) the artist.

Preston Tolbert, Vessel 2, soda fired stoneware; platters by Preston Tolbert hang on the wall. Copyright (c) the artist.

Preston Tolbert, Vessel 2, soda fired stoneware; platters by Preston Tolbert hang on the wall. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Seeking Origin and Locating Stability. digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

“The shifting and ever-changing patterns of the kaleidoscope are unmistakable in Elise Robbins’s series as she mimics its perplexing structures.” -Southside Gallery. Above, three works by Elise Robbins: Seeking Origin, Locating Stability, and Symmetrically Concentric 2. digital prints. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Symmetrically Concentric 2. digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Symmetrically Concentric 2. digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Turnabout (detail). digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Turnabout (detail). digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about this exhibition or these artists, please contact Southside Gallery at southside@southsideartgallery.com or at 662-234-9090.

To comment on this post or to write to the Mississippi Byways project, please use this form:

Scenery from a moving car

Future blog posts will share images from Saturday’s visit to Dirt Roads Pottery in Edinburg, Mississippi, and Chahta Immi Cultural Center in Pearl River, Mississippi.  For now, here are a couple of off-kilter snapshots from the road.

Silhouette of a house, seen Highway 45 Alternate, south of Shannon, Mississippi, January 26, 2015

Silhouette of a house, seen Highway 45 Alternate, south of Shannon, Mississippi, January 26, 2015

Odd looking tree on Highway 16 between Carthage and Edinburg, MS

Odd-looking tree on Highway 16 between Carthage and Edinburg, Mississippi, February 21, 2015

An Introduction to Mississippi Byways, by way of Tupelo

Welcome to Mississippi Byways, a research project of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson (the Museum). The Museum wants to learn more about visual artists, from the self taught to the academically trained, particularly those relatively unknown, but also those well known, in our state.

The Museum also wants to hear from you about artists who you think are interesting. Which artist does everyone in your town or neighborhood know about but no one in Jackson seems to have heard of? For example, that awesome mural at the hair salon, restaurant, club, or church? Tell us about it!

With your help, and using grassroots and traditional research, for the next year and a half, I will explore communities for the stories of artists, art collectors, and art supporters. You can read about what I find here. Rather than this being a place for me to share deep thoughts about art, I mean to find art and narratives that reflect the diversity of Mississippi so that the Museum becomes more and more a physical and virtual place where folks from all over the state feel included and excited about visiting.

Collection of Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi.

Collection of Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi.

I’m starting my tale in Tupelo. Barely 24 hours there one day in late January energized me about the art there: art being created now, art created decades ago, and art being exhibited and sold. Although visual art is not limited to the walls of museums and galleries, I saw wonderful things at The Caron Gallery and at the Oren Dunn City Museum. I look forward to visiting the Gumtree Museum of Art on my next trip.

 

Wade Herbert Armstrong, The Legend of Hummingbird, no date. acrylic on canvas. Collection of Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi.

Wade Herbert Armstrong (American, twentieth century), The Legend of Hummingbird, no date. Collection of Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi.

At the Oren Dunn City Museum is an impressive painting by Mississippi artist Wade Herbert Armstrong, who lived in Tupelo.  The Legend of Hummingbird hangs above display cases of arrowheads. The wall label explains that a Chickasaw man, named Hummingbird, and other Chickasaw warriors attacked a wagon train of white settlers. Most of the settlers were killed, but Hummingbird spared a young girl. Back in Hummingbird’s village, his family took her in and reared her.  She and Hummingbird were married when she was old enough to wed.

Tupelo historian Boyd Yarbrough told me that a mural by Armstrong, now deceased, depicting the history of Tupelo is displayed at the Lee County Public Library.  Armstrong was active as a portraitist in the 1960s, according to Patti Carr Black’s book, Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980 (University Press of Mississippi, 1998).  On my next visit to Tupelo, I look forward to seeing it and to learning more about Armstrong.

What do you think is important to know about artists in Mississippi? Who are some Mississippi artists – living or deceased – whom you find interesting?

Write to me via the comment box, e-mail at bbatton@msmuseumart.org, or snail mail at Beth Batton, Mississippi Museum of Art, 380 South Lamar Street, Jackson, MS 39201.

Beth Batton