Mississippi College

Stephen D. Cook's Fondren Art Exhibit Opens at Gore Galleries

August 24, 2012

People in love with the eclectic mix of diverse neighborhoods, fabulous restaurants, and enchanting art venues in Jackson’s historic Fondren district will appreciate the new exhibit at the Gore Galleries.

The hippest neighborhood in Mississippi’s capital city in the eyes of many Jacksonians, Fondren takes center stage at Mississippi College’s art gallery through October 3rd.

A delightful combination of oils, pastels, charcoals and ink drawings, the collection of Mississippi College art professor Steve Cook spotlights scenes of Fondren by day and night.

“The work is excellent and the images invite the viewer to step outside themselves and become part of the experience,” says Randy Jolly, director of the Gore Galleries. “Steve is a master of design and technique, but takes those works further by evoking the viewer with strong expressive content.”

A 1973 MC graduate, Cook says the paintings, drawings and landscapes in the exhibition reflect “my personal surroundings, and the natural environment and urban scene in the region.”

His works show his visual and emotional attachment to the environment of this urban area in the South, he says.  Many of the works portray Fondren homes, businesses and other slices of life in an early morning light.

“These paintings and drawings are not just pictures, but rather evocations of my world, both urban and natural. Artists should not just render, but should realize innermost stirrings through the wonder and miracle of the creation of works of art,” the art professor says. “I hope the show is an uplifting experience for all who see it.”

The exhibit “Stephen D. Cook – Fondren and Other Works” had its debut in mid-August at the Gore Galleries. A two-hour reception for the artist is planned for September 13 starting at 6 p.m. He and his wife, Jeanne, live in Jackson.

Cook studied under legendary Mississippi artist Marie Hull in the early 1960s. He’s also an alumnus of the University of Mississippi. Listed in “Who’s Who in American Art,” Cook studied printmaking for a year at the Royal College of Art in London.

Jolly is thrilled that Cook’s pieces like the watercolor dubbed “Fondren Blue House” and the charcoal titled “Back to Old Canton” are featured at the Gore Galleries. “It is some of the strongest work I have seen in quite a while.”

Cook’s exhibit brings closer to home an area of Jackson that was seen by millions of filmgoers nationwide in the movie hit “The Help.” For generations, Fondren was a destination point for Mississippians going to see movies at the old Capri Theater. The district’s foods range from Tofu to Middle Eastern to All-American chocolate malts.  

For more information, contact Randy Jolly at 601.925.3880. Hours at the Gore Galleries in Clinton are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is free.

Photo: "Fondren Blue House"

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