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.

James Neel

Birmingham, AL

Phalanx, 2018 slip cast vitreous china, pine, 78 x 120 x 72 in.

Jim Neel’s sculpture, drawings and photography have appeared in regional and national exhibitions that include Winston-Salem’s Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, the Montgomery Museum of Art, and the Alexandria Museum of Art as well as academic galleries at Memphis State University, Mississippi State University, the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Working as a freelance photojournalist covering the wars in Central America and life and death among the Serpent Handling Holiness of Appalachia, his work has appeared nationally and internationally in over thirty newspapers, magazines and hard cover publications that include the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Birmingham News and Post HeraldOxford American magazine,Esquire magazine and Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sandmountain, L’Eglise aux Serpents, and Redneck Riviera.

Carlton Nell

Opelika, AL 

Composition, 2020 silver on film, 4 x 7 in.


Carlton Nell’s painting and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the country and are included in many public and private collections. He is a professor at Auburn University and lives in Opelika, Alabama where he maintains a studio. He is represented by Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York, and Thomas Deans Fine Art in Atlanta.

Artist Statement

These silver drawings are part of on-going work expressing thoughts that originate from direct observation of immediate visual surroundings. My interest is how abstract visual properties — shape, tone, pattern, scale, etc. — form a framework for seeing the world. By using these properties as a prism with which to view and suspend the observed world, my hope is that it leads to a deeper experience of it.

Kole Nichols

Birmingham, AL

Layers of Self and The Obscurity of Memory, 2020 mixed media, 36 x 28 in.

Kole Nichols is a graduate student in printmaking at the University of Alabama, assisting in printmaking and color theory courses. He has interned with artist Sara Garden Armstrong, assisted photographer Kenwyn Alexander, and taught drawing classes at Space One Eleven in Birmingham.

Brent Oglesbee

Bowling Green, KY

Marker, 2020, mixed media, 28 x 5 x 10 in.


born in 1956, Monte Vista, Colorado

lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky


1980       BFA Ceramic Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN

1982       MFA Ceramic Arts, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

2018 —  Present, Professor, Ceramics Program, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY


Recent Exhibitions

2019       Tools, Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC

National Juried Exhibition, Foundry Art Center, St. Charles, MO

2017       The Red Clay Survey: 2017 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

54th Juried Exhibition, Owensboro Museum of Art, Owensboro, KY




2020       Best of Sculpture Award, National Juried Art Exhibition, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY

2019       Honorable Mention, Lunt Memorial Exhibition, Joe Downing Museum, Bowling Green, KY

                Second Place Award, 12th Annual Art Works Members Juried Exhibition, Western Kentucky University,    Bowling Green, KY

2018       Merit Award, 25th Annual Juried Exhibition, Jasper Art Center, Jasper, IN


Museum/University Collections

Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA

University of West Alabama, Livingston, AL

Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY

Jane Phillips

Huntsville, AL 

In Reverie, 2019, oil, gold leaf, coffee on canvas, 72 x 72 in.

Jane Philips was born and raised in Alabama, USA and holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She works with innovative and traditional materials to create dark, textural environments that she populates with haunting figures. Many of her works are a reflection of her struggle with anxiety and exploration of identity.

She has exhibited in museums across the Southeast United States  and most recently won Best in Show at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center’s Embracing Art Exhibition in 2019.

She currently lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her cat, Jazzy, and her dogs Kaylee and River. Jane has a studio space at Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment. Kaylee and River are most excellent studio assistants.