Meet the artists behind the exhibition, The Red Clay Survey: 2020 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art. Each week we will be featuring five of the artists included in this year’s exhibition.  A major recurring regional competition sponsored by the Huntsville Museum of Art , the Red Clay Survey “takes the pulse” of contemporary Southern art through a selection of work in all styles and media. This year’s exhibition includes 85 works by 67 different artists.

Marcus Michels

Hattiesburg, MS

Garden, 2018 oil on canvas, 11.75 x 8 in.

Artist Statement:

“In my work I seek the essence of human interaction, in the spoken and unspoken ways people communicate with each other through body language and gesture. Painting the figure in the interior is a way for me to give the viewer a somewhat voyeuristic look into the figureís anxiety, urgency, or obliviousness to tension. My paintings are about realizing the complexity of human behavior while celebrating its inherent ambiguity and mystery. The act of painting is an attempt to communicate things that cannot be said simply.”

Jeff Mickey

Hammond, LA

Up, 2019 painted wood, 16 x 10 x 10 in.

Jeff was a child during the sixties. He grew up with chemistry sets, microscopes and science books that were provided by his parents, who encouraged him to find out more about the world around him.

“The nature of objects built more with our hands than with industrial processes interest me. There is a certain look to things built one at a time to solve logistical problems that existed before mass production changed our relationship to the world in which we live. The craftspeople who made their own tools or the farmer that made or repaired the equipment needed to produce a crop and make a living, provide examples of the practical application of function to define form. 

John Jahni Moore

Huntsville, AL 

Beyond Symbolic Shrines To Thirst, 2019 acrylic, red clay on canvas, 52 x 40 in.

Sponsored by The Huntsville Museum Association

born in 1967, Huntsville, Alabama
lives in Huntsville, Alabama

2019 MFA Studio Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2007 MEd Art Education, Alabama A & M University, Normal, AL
1991 BS Art, Alabama A & M University, Normal, AL

2015 — Present, Art Instructor, Lee High School/ New Century Technology High School, Huntsville, AL

Recent Exhibitions

2020 57th Annual Juried Competition, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA
2019 Jahni: Notations of A Native Son Troy University International Art Center, Troy, AL
Ground Zero: Afrofuturism Now Orleans African American Museum, New Orleans, LA
Southern Artists, Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery, AL
2018 Remote Castration Laxart, Los Angeles, CA
2014 Group Exhibition, Centennial Park Gallery, Nashville, TN
The Red Clay Survey: 2014 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL
2013 Incantations of a Native Son (solo exhibition), Alabama A & M University, Normal, AL
Solo Exhibition, Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, Gadsden, AL

Museum/University Collections

Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL
Oakwood University, Normal, AL
School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Joe Morzuch

Starkville, MS

Planks, 2018 oil on canvas, 62 x 44 in.

Joe Morzuch is an observational painter currently residing in Starkville, MS.  In addition to his studio work, he is an Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University where he teaches courses in foundations, painting, and drawing.  In 2006 he received his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  He has taught at the college level for the past 15 years and actively exhibits his work nation-wide.​

Marilyn Murphy

Nashville, TN

Air and Dreams, 2020 graphite on paper, 44 x 30 in

Marilyn Murphy is an artist and Professor Emerita of Art at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Her oil paintings and drawings create curious situations implying a larger story that often explore dualities both formally and conceptually (safety and danger, peace and turmoil, fire and water).  Her work has been shown in over three Hundred and twenty exhibitions nationally and abroad. She has had solo exhibitions at the Frist Art Museum, the Huntsville Museum of Art, and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta.