This exhibition allows visitors to wear provided gloves and touch the masks, a visual medium, that is accessible to everyone who visits the J. Wayne Stark Galleries.
Amanda Cagle, collections manager at the galleries, shared, the artist started with traditional plaster molds, making the casting in person with each subject.
“Then she used those to make the cast resin version, which is stronger than plaster,” Cagle added. “You can see from the slight grimace on some musicians’ faces, indicating that the casting process was probably cold and a little uncomfortable. But, they toughed it out and the results are so precise that you can make out the tiniest detail.”
McConnell-Dickerson, creator of the “life casts,” lives in Mississippi and said she was inspired by the music she loves to discover the faces behind the songs; this cast collection features the faces of legendary musicians such as Bo Diddley, Ruth Brown, and Eddie Cusic.
“A life cast is like a 3D photograph to someone who is blind,” McConnell-Dickerson said. “It captures the flesh, muscle, bone, hair, and subtle expressions of emotion.”
The exhibition also has a book in braille with information about the pieces.
“We provide disposable gloves so that everyone can experience the hands-on elements of the show,” Cagle said. “Putting yourself in the place of a sight-impaired artist, you can reach out with your other senses to experience the tactile side of music and history.”
The exhibition also features photos of Blues legends by acclaimed photographer and longtime Mississippi resident Ken Murphy from his 2010 book “Mississippi: State of Blues.”
“If you close your eyes and reach out and brush your fingers across the lips that sang those songs, the eyes that looked out over the cheering crowds, the ears that listened closely to the tune and songs of their friends and elders, then, it becomes a transcendent moment to connect with those musical masters,” Cagle said.
“A Cast of Blues” is on display until May 21 in the Stark Galleries, MSC 1110. For more information, read here!
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