“Crossings” a new exhibition by artist James McKissic will be on display at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center in the Museum gallery through March 2, 2013.
Artist Statement: My work is born of a desire to use color, texture and shape in a way that invites the viewer into the painting. If you don’t want to physically touch my paintings, I feel like I haven’t been successful. My work allows me to explore on an organic, primal level my relationship to the environment and to others as an African American, Southern man.
I create non-objective paintings in mixed media that evoke my rural, agricultural, African American ancestry and often celebrate personal exploration. My sources of inspiration are varied, from a Santeria priest’s front door photographed in Havana, Cuba to the topography of my family’s farm in Meigs County, Tennessee.
Paintings just come to me in the form of images or ideas that I can’t get out of my head. It’s almost like a spirit possesses me — or like Robert Johnson sang, “a hellhound’s on my trail.” I just have to shake it off and release it. African American folk culture, folk religions, and the South hugely influence me.