For artist Brent Funderburk, color is not an option. When someone says a word using the letter “x,” he sees a coppery hue; when the number “5” appears on a bank draft it is always a blue-black color.
“My eyes are as much on the inside as outside,” said the Mississippi State University professor, who has taught in the state since 1982.
Funderburk is a self-described synesthete, a scientific term for someone who has “crossover” senses. His exhibit, “New Solar Myths: Paintings and Drawings by Brent Funderburk,” will be on display at the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs from January 16 through May 11.
“Color harmony was handed down to me from my teacher Edward Reep, a great American painter who studied with master colorist Josef Albers,” said the North Carolina native. “When I’m in nature, color still commands my attention and clues me to meaning. In the paintings, I orchestrate this wave of feeling that comes over and through me.”
The 31 paintings and drawings making up the exhibit in the main galleries of the Anderson Museum illustrate this “colored feeling” in intense watercolor and acrylic and charcoal images of creatures and flora interconnecting with geometric forms and formats.
Funderburk will speak about his work in a slide talk, “Finding the Symbol That Explains Everything: My Art and Walter Anderson,” at a public reception on March 13 at 6 p.m. at the museum.
He will also give an illustrated lecture, “Walter Anderson: A World Vision for Art, Nature and Man,” on Thurs., April 10 at 6 p.m. also at the museum. The presentation will be filmed before the live audience by New Orleans PBS documentary filmmaker Win Riley.
Walter Inglis Anderson made an early impact on the artist/naturalist/teacher. Funderburk’s courses since the ’80s, “Sea Earth Sky” and “Encounters,” have guided students into the life art and environments of Anderson over the years, combining the natural sciences with art processes in the field and classroom. Funderburk has curated touring shows of the Gulf Coast artist’s work and has given lectures at numerous museums and universities.
“New Solar Myths” is Funderburk’s thirty-first one person show; he has exhibited nationally and internationally and was the official artist of the 2010 USA International Ballet Competition.
Funderburk contends that it all comes back to the “maintaining of childlike eyes in the nearest faraway place.
“I was nearsighted, synesthetic and a twin,” he said. “We spent hours seeing, playing, singing our new discoveries. My brother, an architect, and I both visualize spatial sequences to organize our projects and lives. It came from our playroom experiences as children. ‘New Solar Myths’ are just the latest versions of what we played.”
The Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA) opened in 1991 in historic Ocean Springs, MS. WAMA is dedicated to the celebration of the works of Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965), American master, whose depictions of the plants, animals, and people of the Gulf Coast have placed him among the forefront of American painters of the Twentieth Century; and to his brothers, Peter Anderson (1901-1984), master potter and founder of Shearwater Pottery; and James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), noted painter and ceramicist.Hours: Monday- Sat. 9: 30am- 4: 30 pm, Sun.- 12: 30 pm- 4 : 30 pm Prices: $10 for adults,$8 seniors, students, AAA, Military, $5 children 5-15, Museum members and Children 4 and under are free. Discounts provided for groups tours. Walter Anderson Museum of Art, 510 Washington AvenueOcean Springs, MS 39564228.872.3164