Meridian Museum of Art's latest offerings features the artwork of noted Mississippi watercolorist Gary Walters and his son Jacob Walters, who is quickly developing his own recognizable style in the art medium, and the distinctive black and white acrylic art of New Orleans native Aaron Reichert.
The invitational exhibit will run at the downtown museum through June 1.
Gary & Jacob Walters
The Walters' love of art spans three generations. Gary Walters' father, George, was a gifted drawer. Although he never made a living from art, George Walters did inspire his son to take up the profession and become a well-known watercolor artist.
With roots in the Mississippi Delta, Gary has painted thousands of watercolors since he was a small boy. While the Delta is the inspiration for many of his works, the real subject of his paintings is color and shape. Gary paints what he describes as "designed realism," of realistic scenes designed the way he sees them.
In addition to being a professional artist, Gary has spent more than three decades teaching art on all levels – from kindergarten to college to professional workshops. A Christian artist and a native of Jackson, he attended Hinds Community
College, where he won honors as the school's most outstanding art student. While attending Mississippi College, Gary received the Bellaman Award for the most creative art student. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Mississippi College. Over the past 35 years, Walters has had numerous one-man shows. In 1993, he was honored as Art Alumnus of the Year for Mississippi College.
The third element of the Walters' art trilogy is Jacob Walters.
When Jacob decided to leave his job and become a professional artist, he was encouraged by his father – who was proud of the artwork his youngest son has already produced – to pursue his dream.
Jacob describes his abstract art as "imaginary expression," or the product of the expressions inside him. His use of bold color and distinct mark making harmonize to create images that are bright and inviting. His powerful and direct compositions are supported by his assured sense of design.
Jacob developed his style by studying art in the United States and in Europe. Counted among the artists he most admires are Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse. In a short time, he has cultivated a loyal following of collectors all across the United States.
“The beauty of nature is observed and recreated to portray an independent perspective which is art,” the young artist said.
He has painted close to 100 paintings over the years, and plans to paint many more, now that he can devote all his time to his craft.
The father and son's current exhibits at Meridian Museum of Art marks a return for the elder Walters – who had a show at MMA in the late '70s – and a first for the younger one.
“Several years ago, I passed by Gary Walters' first book and the brilliant colors caught my eye," said Sylvia Follis, MMA's exhibition chair. "Then I realized his paintings were scenes of the flat Delta of Mississippi. His exaggerated colors give the feeling of being surrounded by the sunrise or sunset. After having seen many of his dad's paintings, I was interested in seeing what Jacob Walters would do in his work. It was interesting to see similar landscapes, but abstracted."
Gary has works in many public and private collections in the United States and several countries around the world. His work has won many awards, including The Bellamon award for creativity, a Mississippi Legislative Award for bringing honor to the state of Mississippi and an induction into the Felton F. Waggoner Hall of Honor. Gary's first book was a Limited Edition publication titled "Delta Dream: The Mississippi Delta Paintings" and his second book is titled "Delta Dreamin'." Both books feature works of his beloved Mississippi Delta.
Gary and Jacob have done seven shows together at the Jackson Municipal Art Gallery, Eudora Welty Library and other venues around Jackson. They were also invited to give a lecture and demonstration at the 20th Anniversary Mississippi and the Arts Celebration in 2002.