During the month of July, the South Arkansas Arts Center will present a visual art exhibition entitled “Step Forward/Stand Back,” by internationally known artist and Magnolia native Jay Shinn. Shinn’s work, which will fill the Merkle and Price Galleries, includes large-scale graphic abstract paintings, as well as several works incorporating elements of neon light.
Exhibition Showing July 1-24
Closing Reception on Saturday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m.
Shinn, who was born in Magnolia and took some of his earliest art classes at SAAC, now lives and works between Dallas, New York, and Berlin. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Some of his first art education experiences, however, took place at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El dorado.
Known for his large-scale public art light installations of projection paintings and neon, Shinn has spent his career exploring minimal geometric abstraction through color and light. His works are in many private and public collections worldwide including Houston’s Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport; Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; Texas A&M University’s Zachary School of Engineering Education Complex; and the Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead Stadium.
“Step Forward/Stand Back” was created by a distinct moment in time. When the COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt halt to all our lives, Shinn’s busy travel and exhibition schedule was instantly interrupted. That great pause, however, created space for reflection, and directed his thoughts back to the South Arkansas Arts Center. The works included in this exhibition represent the strength of his unique voice in color, light, and movement. They also draw a direct connection between his earliest efforts as a student artist at SAAC, an example of which can be seen just inside the gallery door, to his mature work in neon, acrylic, and projection.
Viewers will find more than a dozen works in a variety of mediums, all infused with color and energy in a deceptively minimalist package. There can be no doubt that the work included in Step Forward/Stand Back will become an important part of the history of SAAC, and of the vibrant arts community contained within. The exhibition is truly a labor of love, a visible representation of Shinn’s appreciation for SAAC’s role as an incubator for his artistic career, and an opportunity for South Arkansas to honor his artistic legacy in return.