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The Sound & The Gulf

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

WAMA and the Memphis College of Art present The Sound and the Gulf, a retrospective exhibition celebrating 34 years of artwork inspired by the wilderness landscape of Horn Island. For more than three decades, Memphis College of Art students have followed in the footsteps of artist Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965) as they’ve made a series of 12-day excursions by boat to Horn Island, an uninhabited barrier island off the coast of Mississippi. The exhibition, on view through September 30, coincides with the 35th annual MCA Horn Island trip, and looks back at this impressive and inspiring journey through the eyes of these intrepid creators.

The Horn Island program began in 1985 under the direction of Professor Emeritus Bob Riseling and continues under the direction of Associate Professor Don DuMont. The annual excursion is designed to get students out of the studio and engage them in a natural setting that challenges them with new perspectives. Students keep a journal/sketchbook with daily entries of their personal experience and create island assignments. They are on their own to explore the island, engage with other members of the group, exchange ideas, and participate in island traditions that may be a catalyst for their creativity. Students are required to visit the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, exploring Anderson’s work before leaving for the island. Once they return, all participants create their own body of work.

“I believe that one must disconnect in order to reconnect,” said Don DuMont, MCA Horn Island program director. “That is what the island can provide – the chance to get away from routine daily distractions, to look inward as well as outward, to focus on one’s surroundings. That’s when the creative transformation takes place.”

Margaret Perez, "Confined Hydra", 2018, watercolor and ink.

The Sound and the Gulf features more than sixty artworks across a diversity of media from MCA students, alumni, and faculty, including drawing, painting, sculpture, illustration, ceramics, metals, photography, printmaking and digital media. Like American master Walter Inglis Anderson, MCA artists have explored and rendered Horn Island’s otherworldly vistas, full of rich marine life, native flora, and hundreds of species of birds. The Sound and the Gulf celebrates this spirit of exploration and creativity in concert with the natural world.

“Horn Island is only a dozen miles from the mainland, but to journey there is to transition to an entirely different plane,” said Julian Rankin, Director of WAMA. “It is a departure from what Walter Anderson called the ‘dominant mode on shore’. The island is a place where time becomes malleable and artistic vision thrives, beyond the constraints of modern life. It’s an honor for us to celebrate this decades-long adventure with the Memphis College of Art.”

A reception for the exhibition and accompanying gallery talk is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 from 6-8 PM at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

About Memphis College of Art

For over 80 years, Memphis College of Art has provided a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. Although closing in 2020, MCA remains fully accredited with expert, nationally-renowned faculty and a beloved Community Education program. Going forward, its graduates will shape our communities in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit, and follow MCA on Facebook @memphiscollegeofart and Instagram @memphiscollegeofart.


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