Art major's canvas, too big for gallery, makes brief appearance on campus

Release Date: 12/10/2010

Clarksville, Ark. --- "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," as the poet said. But sometimes you have to see it while you can.

A case in point is art major Kenny Millsap’s enormous painting, titled “Improvisation on a Messianic Theme.” While the reception for Millsap’s senior gallery show will be Monday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., “Improvisation” will not be there. It’s just too darned big.

Kenny Millsap stands with "Improvisation," a piece he created as a project for Dr. Bill Eakin's Contemporary Art class.

The painting, part of a project for Dr. Bill Eakin’s Contemporary Art class, was done as a response to two other artists, Jackson Pollock – famed for his abstract expressionist splatter painting method – and Cy Twombly, an American artist well known for his large-scale, freely scribbled, calligraphic-style graffiti paintings.

Millsap’s work was on display briefly last Thursday afternoon for those-in-the-know, when this photo of the epic piece was taken on the loading dock of the Walton Fine Arts Building.

Watch a condensed version of the making of "Improvisation."

“I suspended aerosol cans of spray paint in a system of ropes above and alongside the canvas board, and shot them with a pellet gun,” Millsap said. “The perforated cans randomly painted the canvas board surface. It took awhile to get the technique down; particularly, I had to learn to let the coats of paint dry separately, to prevent the colors blending.”

The brightly colored piece is unlike the material appearing in Millsap’s show, where he cites influences such as H. R. Giger, whose work influenced the look of the movie “Alien” among others, as well as Jamie Hewlett and Francis Bacon, all known for their dark, sinister imagery.

The gallery show Daydreams and Nightmares will feature work by Millsap and fellow artist Ronni Rauschenberger. The show runs December 9 through December 16.