By DAVID SPRAYBERRY
The artwork of renowned Mississippi painter Marie Atkinson Hull (1890-1980) will return to where it all began, Belhaven University, for a major exhibition entitled Marie Hull: Visions of Color and Light.
This is one of the biggest showcases of her art and consists of over 85 paintings, drawings, personal memorabilia, and a rare three-panel screen.” Many of the paintings in the exhibition have never been displayed publicly.
The artwork in the exhibition represents the full span of her artistic career with representations of realism, impressionism, abstract and expressionism. “This show has been over two years in the making and will widen the appreciation of Marie Hull’s artistic abilities,” stated Jack Kyle, chair of arts administration at Belhaven University and organizer of the exhibition. “The lenders to the exhibition have been very generous in making these artworks available for the public to view, many for the first time.”
Over 40 lenders from public and private collections in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and New Hampshire have contributed original artwork for the exhibition.
Hull’s artwork is beloved and sought after by collectors. At one time, art collector and friend Roy Winston Wilkinson, VI had more of her paintings than anyone else in Mississippi. “I liked the fact that Marie’s art was so diverse. She never limited herself to just one style,” said Wilkinson. “She was always trying something new and looking for inspiration. Marie could paint anything and beautifully craft paintings that could take your breath away.”
An important highlight of the exhibition is the painting entitled “Texas Field Flowers,” which has never been exhibited in Mississippi and earned Hull the second prize in the 1929 Texas Wildflower Competitive Exhibition. The cash award for this prize was pivotal in her journey as an artist and enabled her to travel to Europe with group of artists. She visited Spain, Morocco, and France, touring the major museums and participating in painting classes and lectures. This experience shaped much of her later artwork.
Hull was a 1909 graduate of Belhaven and spent her days at Belhaven and the surrounding neighborhood, learning and perfecting her craft.
According to Wilkinson, artist Walter Anderson would travel up from Ocean Springs to paint with her and writer Eudora Welty would call on Hull to give her painting lessons.
The show is the second in a series of art exhibitions organized by the Marie Hull Society for the Arts, an initiative at Belhaven to advance and support the arts.
The exhibition is free and open to the public, and it will run from May 20 – September 3, 2016 in the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Building Gallery. The gallery is open from Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. A hardcover, full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition and be available for purchase. For more information call 601.968.8937 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Sprayberry is the Assistant Director of University Relations at Belhaven University.