Meet the artists behind the upcoming 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.

Martin Arnold

Florence, AL

Anjie, 2020, Oil on panel, 42 x 22 in.

For nearly thirty-seven years Martin Arnold engaged his creative passion in the concept and design of special application machinery destined for local automotive assembly lines. In 2006 he turned his back on that technical engineering environment and pursued his first love, art.

In 2009, Martin earned his BFA and three years later was awarded his Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Mississippi. Along the way, he collected many regional, national and international awards for his exploratory figurative paintings.

Redirecting his love of precision and detail that underscored his years in engineering, the artist now spends his days painting poignant, life-size oil paintings of people that he crosses paths with. As he graphically withdraws the curtain of privacy surrounding each of his subjects, he offers viewers a rare glimpse at the unique, underlying personality of each. He deliberately leaves viewers exposed, face to face with the silent, bare humanity of his subject_a soul that reflects both their commonality and empathy.

Today, Martin spends his time in front of his easel, painting prodigiously and passing on his love of art and his artistic skills to aspiring young artists at The University of North Alabama.

Martin, his wife, Cherrie and their hyper-active Labrador Retriever, Buddy make their home in beautiful Northwest Alabama.

Michael Baggarly

Murfreesboro, TN

Fractious Division, 2019, Cast iron, honey locust thorns, 42 x 42 x 8 in.

Michael Baggarly is an associate professor of Art at Middle Tennessee State University where he teaches Sculpture and 3-D Design. He lives and works in Murfreesboro, TN with his wife Melodie and two children Kaia and Caedryn. Michael earned a BFA (Magna Cum Laude) from Western Kentucky University in 1998 and MA and MFA degrees from University of Iowa in 2001 and 2002 as an Iowa Arts Fellowship recipient. Michael’s focus of study was sculpture and graphic design.

Initially an undergraduate ceramics major, Michael was interested in the sculptural ability of clay to build large forms with relative quickness. As his interest toward sculptural works pushed the addition of new materials he began to make the transition from clay as a primary medium to a new focus towards materials such as steel and wood. His conceptual interests have always focused upon the human experience. He has explored this through physical representation of the body and as body in absence. Currently he is focused upon process and labor as both physical and conceptual narrative. Viewing himself as an object-maker, his forms draw physically from the world around him, finding inspiration in product design and other mass produced items, he searches to find a balance between the hand-made and the slick manufactured products of today.

 Michael’s art has been exhibited nationally and internationally in juried and invitational exhibitions. His work has appeared recently at the Gail Contemporary Art Museum in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, Positive/Negative 30th. Annual National Juried Exhibition, Space 204, Vanderbilt University, Red Clay Survey: Contemporary Southern Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL, Positive/ Negative 26th. Annual National Juried Exhibition, Slocumb Gallery, Johnson City, Action: Reaction, National Juried Exhibition, Gloria Singletary Gallery, and Art Biologic: International Juried Exhibition, Limner Gallery. His works are also included in the Tennessee State Museum Collection, Nashville, TN, Learning Connexion, Wellington, New Zealand, Museo de Collage, Morelos Mexico, and SUNY, Geneseo, NY.

Sheila Baldwin

Nashville, TN

The Picasso Project: Altered View of Chinese Chest of Drawers, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 in.


born in 1949, Nashville, Tennessee

lives in Nashville, Tennessee

1975       BA Psychology, Peabody College – Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

1988       Art Studies, Watkins College of Art, Nashville, TN

Recent Exhibitions

2018       SIXBYFOUR, Scarritt Bennett Center, Nashville, TN

2002       Visions of Nature Preserved, Gallery of  Franklin, Franklin, TN

2000       Three Views, Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY; Tullahoma Fine Art Center, Tullahoma, TN (1999)


Museum/University Collections

                Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

Aron Belka

New Orleans, LA

Clifton Faust, 2018, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

Aron Belka


                born in 1974, Salt Lake City, Utah

                lives in New Orleans, Louisiana

1998       BFA Illustration, Utah State University, Logan, UT

Recent Exhibitions

2020       From Golden Meadows to Grand Islands (solo exhibition), LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA

2019       Concrete and Adrift: On the Poverty Line, Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA

                        Texas National, The Cole Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX

                21st Annual Art of the Portrait Exhibition, Portrait Society of America, Atlanta, GA

2018       Call to Post (solo exhibition), LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA

                National Art Encounter, Naples Art Association, Naples, FL

                Represent: Depicting Creatives in the 504 (solo exhibition), Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, GA

                Three Hundred Years, Thirty New Orleans Artists, Second Story Gallery, New Orleans, LA

2017       Face to Face, LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA

                        From the Outside In, LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA

                Louisiana Contemporary, Ogden Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

                St. Tammany Art Association Summer Show, Art House, Covington, LA (also 2015)

2016       Louisiana Contemporary, Ogden Museum, New Orleans, LA

                        Roots Exhibit (solo exhibition), Jones-Carter Gallery, Lake City, SC

                SCOPE New York, New York, NY


2019       Artist Residency, Cill Rialaig Project, Ballinskelligs, Ireland

2017       Juror’s Choice Award, The Red Clay Survey: 2017 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art,  Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL

2016       Artist Residency, Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans, LA

Museum/University Collections

                Alexandria Museum of Art, Alexandria, LA

                New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Center, New Orleans, LA

                University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI

Misty Bennett

Vestavia Hills, AL

Big Feelings, 2019, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.

born in 1973, Ontario, Oregon

lives in Vestavia Hills, Alabama

1996       BFA, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

2002       MFA Drawing / Painting, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

2003 —  Present, Professor of Art, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL

Recent Exhibitions


2018       Collaborative work by Joseph and Misty Bennett, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL

                Outpour (solo exhibition), Hoover Public Library, Hoover, AL

2016       Art of the State, Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, Tuscumbia, AL

                Coalesce: Collaborative Work by Joseph and Misty Bennett, Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham, Al; Hoover Public Library, Hoover, AL (2017)

                Magic City Art Connection, Birmingham, AL

2013       Fables of the Eco-Future, Hambidge Center for Creative Arts, Rabun Gap, GA

                Perceptual Excavations, TEJAS Gallery, Dayton, OH

                The Art of Healing, Wiregrass Museum/College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dothan, AL

2011       Alabama’s Finest, Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL

                Team/Work Drawing Collaborations, Georgia College Museum, Milledgeville, GA


Museum/University Collections

                University of Georgia, Athens, GA

                University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL