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Five Delta State artists to be featured in MMA’s 2021 Mississippi Invitational exhibition

Pictured (clockwise, from top left) are Delta State artists Will Jacks, Nathan Pietrykowski, Jesse Ryan Brown, Lawson King (‘17) and M. Robyn Wall.

Four Delta State University faculty members and one alumnus are among the 42 artists from across the state invited to participate in the 2021 Mississippi Invitational exhibition, the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA) announced.

The 2021 Mississippi Invitational exhibition features a survey of recent works created by contemporary visual artists living and working in the state. It is the largest number of artists represented since the MMA launched the biennial program in 1997.

The exhibition will feature works across a variety of media by the following Delta State-affiliated artists: alumnus Lawson King (’17) of Indianola, Miss.; Assistant Professor of Art M. Robyn Wall; Visiting Professor of Art in Photography Jesse Ryan Brown; Visiting Digital Media Art Instructor Nathan Pietrykowski; and Delta Center for Culture and Learning Program Manager and Photography Instructor Will Jacks.

On view Aug. 14 through Oct. 10, 2021, this year’s Mississippi Invitational works were selected by guest curator Danielle Burns-Wilson.

“To be invited to serve as guest curator for the Mississippi Museum of Art’s 2021 Invitationalis already an honor, but to do so against the backdrop of all that is happening around us is even more meaningful,” stated Burns-Wilson. “The world has reached an entropic state, seemingly never to return to its once ordered ways, and so I wanted the works in this year’s Invitational to reflect the many voices and experiences of this particular moment. I selected works that create a balance – through materials, media, and processes, as well as perspectives. This exhibition conveys human needs, reimagines our future and liberates thought.”

Invitational artists will be eligible to apply for the Jane Crater Hiatt Artist Fellowship—a grant of up to $20,000 awarded to one artist. The recipient will be announced during an opening reception on August 13.

MMA Director Betsy Bradley said, “The might and fortitude of artists has always been an inspiration to me. In the face of all that is contrary, they summon the courage and strength to make something that speaks their truth to other people. And our communities are better for it. The 2021 Mississippi Invitational demonstrates that the power to make something beautiful, to survive, to connect with ideas and with others, can be stronger than the temptation to withdraw.”

During the month of Aug. 2021, MMA will offer free admission as a way to welcome visitors back after the pandemic.

A publication accompanying the exhibition will be available in The Museum Store.

The Mississippi Invitational and its biennial exhibition and catalog are made possible with support from the Community Foundation for Mississippi/Jane Crater Hiatt Fund. The opening events are sponsored by Ross & Yerger.

Read more Delta State artists featured in the 2021 Mississippi Invitational exhibition below:

Lawson King is an artist from Indianola, Miss. He works primarily in sculpture, creating works for public places—because art is for everyone. After earning his BFA at Delta State  King went up to the Midwest to work with sculptor Ray Katz. In 2020, he received an Artist Fellowship Award from Mississippi Arts Commission. King is currently in Clarksdale, Miss., as a part of Coahoma Collective, continuing to create and exhibit public art.

Robyn Wall is an interdisciplinary artist and educator living in Cleveland, Miss. She serves as an assistant professor of art in printmaking and fibers at Delta State. Wall graduated with a BFA with honors from the University of Manitoba, Canada. She studied at the University of New Mexico and received her MFA at Louisiana State University.

Nathan Pietrykowski is a print media artist and teacher. He received his MFA from Louisiana State University and a BS from the University of Southern Indiana. Currently, Pietrykowski is an instructor in art at DSU. His work has been exhibited internationally and nationally in over 100 venues including Highpoint Center of Printmaking in Minneapolis, Big Medium Gallery in Austin, Carnation Contemporary in Portland, Site:Brooklyn Gallery, and Manhattan Graphics Center in New York City.

Jesse Ryan Brown was born in Atlanta, Ga.  He received a BFA (2004) in photographic imaging from The Art Institute of Atlanta in Atlanta and an MFA (2020) in studio art from The Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine.   Currently, Brown is an Assistant Professor of Art at Delta State.

Will Jacks is a process artist best known for his photographic work, but also incorporates explorations with land, objects, sound, video, and community engagement into his practice. His research examines the blurred areas between art and journalism, individual and collective, and the impact of each on the other. Jacks’ first monograph documents the juke-joint Po’ Monkey’s Lounge, which serves as a prism for examining cultural tourism and preservation and the complexities prevalent in both. It was published by University Press of Mississippi in October of 2019, and for this work Jacks was recognized by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for outstanding achievement in photography. In 2020, he completed an MFA in studio art from the Maine College of Art, and in 2021 he completed his MA in journalism from the University of Mississippi. Currently, Jacks makes his home in the Mississippi Delta, where he works and teaches at DSU. In addition, he works with other artists in creating the non-profit Jacks Farms Artist Residencies. He can often be found on rural backroads somewhere in the South exploring people, culture, history, geography, pattern, and the entanglement of where those worlds collide.