Meditations on the Landscape in Art and Literature


Friends of the Museum

Meditations on the Origins of Agriculture in America
meditations title

Celebrating the acquisition of William Dunlap’s Meditations on the Origins of Agriculture in America at the University of Mississippi Museum

March 25–July 27, 2019

Opening Reception: Monday, March 25, 4:00–5:45 p.m.

William Dunlap, Curator. Featuring works by: John Alexander, Walter Anderson, Jason Bouldin, Marshall Bouldin, Andrew Blanchard, Charlie Buckley, Jane Rule Burdine, Linda Burgess, William Christenberry, Langdon Clay, Maude Schuyler Clay, Ed Croom, Warren Dennis, William Dunlap, William Eggleston, William Ferris, Huger Foote, Michael Ford, Gilbert Gaul, Rolland Golden, William Goodman, Theora Hamblett, William Hollingsworth, Marie Hull, O.W. Pappy Kitchens, Jack Kotz, Terry Lynn, John McCrady, Robert Malone, Sally Mann, Milly West, Tom Rankin, R. Kim Rushing, Jack Spencer, Glennray Tutor, Wyatt Waters, Eudora Welty, Brooke White, and Carlyle Wolfe.

Friends of the Museum logoMississippi Arts Commission logoNational Parks Service logo

The acquisition of William Dunlap’s artwork was supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, through the Avery B. Dille Jr. Fund for Art Acquisition, in memory of Mr. Avery B. Dille Sr., Mrs. Katherine T. Dille, and Avery B. Dille Jr. Friends of the Museum and the artist contributed to the acquisition. Friends of the Museum is sponsoring the exhibition, symposium, and related activities. Funding partially provided by the National Park Service.

The Art of Identification  |  David Allen Sibley

Blackpoll Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler from The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2014

February 26–September 7, 2019

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 28, 2019, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Meet the Artist and Gallery Walkthrough: Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 7-9:00 p.m.
Understanding Birds through Drawing: Thursday, April 4, 2019, 5:30 p.m.

The Art of Identification, a collection of watercolors by celebrated bird illustrator, ornithologist, and author David Allen Sibley, is on view at the University of Mississippi Museum beginning February 26.

The exhibit will display 25 original paintings from the Sibley Guides to Birds and Trees, as well as a few earlier works from the illustrator.

“Mr. Sibley exhibits in museums very infrequently, so this is a particularly great opportunity for Oxford and [the University],” said Robert Saarnio, director of the University of Mississippi Museum. “There is an appeal of partnering with such a wide range of organizations and we saw immediately the possibility of other related elements in the Permanent Collection supporting this show, such as recently-gifted, but not yet displayed, Audubon prints, and our Boehm ceramic birds collection.”

The UM Museum will host an opening reception on Thursday, February 28 at 5:30pm to celebrate the exhibit, which is on view until September 7, 2019. Sibley will visit the museum in April for several appearances and events, including a gallery walkthrough on April 2, a step-by-step demonstration on April 4, as well as to meet with students and local birding groups in the area. A full schedule of events can be found under the events tab.

“For me drawing is a tool, a method of study. It helps me to really dig in and develop an understanding of the things I am drawing, and the simple act of sketching has led to all kinds of discoveries,” Sibley said.

“Ultimately, I think the reward of studying nature is the chance to feel like a part of something bigger: to understand the patterns and rhythms of the natural world, to know what part each bird or tree is playing, and to see our own lives in that context.”

Sibley has authored and illustrated a series of guides for bird watchers and enthusiasts, which includes five volumes birds and one on trees. The Sibley Guides began publication in 2000 and have become one of the most accomplished guides for ornithological field identification in North America.

“I hope that sharing my illustrations through my books and through this exhibit acts as an introduction to the birds and trees that share our neighborhoods, allowing everyone to appreciate their place in the wider natural world,” Sibley added.

Local and regional bird and conservation organizations, including the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, Miss., Delta Wind Birds, and the Mississippi Ornithological Society, are equally excited to share Sibley’s knowledge and illustrations with the Oxford community.

“One could say the depth of Audubon’s legacy is carried today by David Allen Sibley, whose detailed avian portraits are equally field guides and works of art,” said Mitch Robinson, Conservation Education Manager at SPAC.

“John James Audubon, the namesake of the National Audubon Society, was the first European to document, draw and bring to life the diverse abundance of avian life in North America, inspiring awe and wonder in naturalists and bird lovers alike for over two centuries,” he added.

Admission to the UM Museum, as well as to the opening reception, is free. The galleries are open every Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be among the first to know about upcoming events, exhibits, and workshops by becoming a member and supporting the mission of Mississippi’s largest academic museum.

The UM Museum is located at the intersection of 5th Street and University Avenue. For more information, call 662-915-7073 or email

by Victoria Bobo

Visual Abundance: Realism in Watercolor

Cherries, Tulips, Silver, Crystal and Dutch Vase

Cherries, Tulips, Silver, Crystal and Dutch Vase

January 22–August 3, 2019

Opening Reception and Gallery Walkthrough with Artist: Thursday, January 31, 2019, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

The work of realist painter Laurin McCracken is influenced by the Dutch and Flemish still life painters of the 16th and 17th centuries. Before a serious commitment to the medium of watercolor in 2000, McCracken was a successful architect and a part-time photographer. He attended Auburn University and earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University. He followed that with a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University. His work as a practicing architect and as a photographer allowed him to travel extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Japan. His photographs have been widely published in architectural journals, as book covers, and as book illustrations.

Although McCracken did not take up watercolor until later in life, his existing skills in drawing, photography, and observation provided a strong foundation for his mastery of the medium. He studied with Gwenn Bragg at the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia, and with Alain Gavin at the Art Institute of Chicago. He also carefully studied the works of still life masters who inspired his work.

McCracken’s paintings have won many awards and have been exhibited in juried shows from coast to coast and internationally. Shows include those of the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society, the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, and the Southern Watercolor Society. His paintings have also been included in many competitive international shows, including the Beijing International Art Biennale 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017; the Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial 2012, 2014; the Thailand World Watermedia Exhibition 2014; and the Masters of Watercolour 2015, St. Petersburg, Russia.

McCracken is the current president of the Watercolor USA Honor Society and the Country Leader for the USA for the Fabriano in Acquarello in Fabriano, Italy. He is a signature member of more than a dozen watercolor societies.

A native of Meridian, Mississippi, McCracken currently resides and paints in Fort Worth, Texas.

Read more about Visual Abundance: Realism in Watercolor here.

Buie West Grand Opening

Gallery opens: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Opening Reception: March 27, 2018, 6–8:00 p.m.

Join us Tuesday, March 27th during the April Arts Crawl to officially celebrate the opening of the Buie West Gallery!

Buie West is the first of four galleries in the original 1939 museum to reopen after major renovations. The gallery, and the three others to come, will permanently display the Robinson Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities.