Published on November 8th, 2022 | by University of Mississippi


University of Mississippi Professor Granted Visual Artist Fellowship

Mississippi Arts Commission recognizes creative contributions to state

Kariann Fuqua, instructional assistant professor of art and director of museum studies at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded a highly competitive artist fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the state’s official grants-making and service agency for the arts.

Fuqua received one of just five MAC Visual and Design Artists Fellowships this year. The fellowship honors Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create exemplary work in their chosen field with $5,000 toward making new art.

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected for an individual visual artist fellowship by the Mississippi Arts Commission,” said Fuqua. 

“I was truly stunned to receive the news. This grant will help support expanding my drawing practice into larger scale works with new materials as I prepare for upcoming exhibitions.”

Fuqua is an abstract artist who uses drawing and painting to investigate the intersection of chaos and control. Her work is widely exhibited in solo and group shows across the United States, including the Jenkins-Johnson Gallery in San Francisco; Governors Island in New York; Hyde Park Arts Center in Chicago; Byron Cohen Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; Manifest Gallery and Drawing Center in Cincinnati; and Athens Institute of Contemporary Art in Athens, Georgia.

“The Mississippi Arts Commission seeks to serve as a catalyst for the arts and to celebrate creativity in the state of Mississippi,” said Michael Barnett, interim chair of art and art history at Ole Miss.

“This important recognition of Kariann’s work through the awarding of the visual arts fellowship speaks highly to the quality of the work that she does, its contribution to our state and the value that she brings to the classroom in each interaction with our students.”

Fuqua is a previous recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, was awarded a public commission at McCormick Place in Chicago and her art was published in New American Paintings and the Artist’s Magazine.

“I create drawings and paintings, using space as metaphor to describe feelings of loss, longing and uncertainty,” said Fuqua, who has a bachelor’s degree in painting from Kansas State University and a master’s in painting from the University of Illinois. “My work explores grief through an environmental lens, conjuring images of the sublime, where both the beautiful and the horrific converge.

“Through abstraction, I investigate environmental and biological catastrophe, the basic mechanics of which are often unseen but threaten our very existence. On a microscopic level, biological phenomena necessary to sustain life are complex structures, and we only become aware of their disequilibrium as we approach the brink of disaster, whether by means of climate change, disease or famine.

“The disruption of these systems by human interference or natural forces causes a chain reaction of devastation from which it is hard to recover.”

Her work combines dissected photographs of the landscape with layered mark-making to generate imagined networks or systems.

“Edges, erasures and value play critical roles in establishing a sense of collective force that embodies anxiousness and isolation,” Fuqua said. “I exploit this tension to evoke a reverence for the earth and the power of nature, while simultaneously responding to the feeling of helplessness as I observe the rapid pace of environmental destruction.”

Her fellowship is supported in part by funding from MAC and the National Endowment for the Arts. MAC has awarded $1.65 million in funding to artists and arts programs across the state for fiscal year 2023.

University of Mississippi professor Kariann Fuqua has been awarded one of only five Visual and Design Artists Fellowships presented by the Mississippi Arts Commission this year. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services
‘Boundary of the Unknown VIII,’ a 2021 piece using graphite, ink and digital printing on paper, is among Kariann Fuqua’s works that combine dissected landscape photographs with layered marks to convey a sense of collective force that drives human emotions.
‘Encroach,’ by Kariann Fuqua, uses graphite, ink and digital printing on paper.
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About the Author

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is Mississippi’s flagship university. A member of the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in public service, business, academics and the professions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school; nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy; and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action. Acclaimed as one of the nation’s most beautiful, Ole Miss's main campus is in Oxford, which is routinely recognized as one of the nation's best college towns.

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