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Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

New House exhibit shows off brilliant gallery of artistic expertise

Branson art teachers worked over the summer to compile a collection of art for the community to enjoy.
Caroline Jordan
“Our Lady of Communion” by Allyson Seal. The canvas painting was displayed in the New House art gallery in October 2023

The cliché “those who cannot do, teach” might want to take a look at the prolific multimedia art display in New House Gallery, done entirely by Branson staff.

A full range of Branson teachers’ talents across artistic mediums fills every corner — sometimes literally — of the gallery. 

Art Department Chair Eric Oldmixon worked with a huge redwood branch, consciously placed so it doesn’t look like much when precariously leaning against the wall. But when the viewer walks around it they see a huge chunk has been carved, hand chiseled, and sanded into two smooth leg bones. 

Oldmixon said he intended to “personify the branch just to get that connection or empathy with the natural world.”

A sculpted redwood tree trunk created by Eric Oldmixon. The sculpture was displayed in the New House art gallery in October 2023. (Caroline Jordan)

Most people would not see parasite-infested wood as art, but Oldmixon begs to differ. His art repurposes a variety of materials, including decaying wood from around his home and rolled-up, worn-out t-shirts. 

Another sculpture artist in the show, Lucas Mobley, is also Branson’s newest acting teacher. For one sculpture, Mobley started with a flat block of marble and worked with hand tools, chisels, air hammers, and sandpaper to complete his work. He described his creative practice as “a meditation or dance, a way out of my head and into my body.” 

His sculpture sits on a block of granite where the light emphasizes all the rough chips in the stone. The whole sculpture casts a shadow on the stairs behind it. Up those stairs, Mobley also presented a trilogy of double-exposure photography.

Mobley’s presence in the show also raised questions for future exhibitions. Many members of the Branson faculty and staff have a creative practice even if they don’t teach a visual arts class. 

Another featured teacher, Allyson Seal, a visual arts teacher, is all about the layers, contributing a trilogy of digitally manipulated photographs and multiple paintings. Two of her works were highly visited but incredibly different from each other. 

“Calling to their old gods” had a main subject which took an octopus shape with paint swirls and geometric shapes all layered on the same canvas. Seal made the piece during the summer and repeatedly said, “A deadline is always a gift,” but she thought that particular canvas would be edited and detailed for another month as soon as it came off the wall. 

Seal’s other piece, “Our Lady of Communion,” is a bright moon on a swirly, inky night with rays of light that could be interpreted as bringing something in toward the center of the crescent or sending a message out beyond the canvas. 

Noelle Anderson, a visual arts and human development teacher, also did a canvas painting but her favorite piece she contributed was a little booklet of photograph paintings called, “A Day.” She repeatedly encouraged people to touch it, open it, and “read” it. 

Anderson described “A Day” as “16 individual watercolors that I’ve created of everyday objects in my life. 

As she was painting, she “started to realize these objects told a narrative, so I decided to place them in an intentional chronology and bind it as a booklet. The piece now illustrates the story of a single day.” 

The four teachers’ collection of 20 total works was prepared for the reception on October 13th. There was an amazing turnout of the Branson community plus the artists’ friends and family visiting New House, enjoying refreshments, and discussing, praising, and inquiring about the wonderful artwork on display.

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    Eric OldmixonNov 14, 2023 at 9:04 pm

    You capture the exhibition well! thanks for your effort and diligence in crafting this review!