Faculty Jason Stout’s exhibit was presented in the lobby of the Fine Arts this week with a variety of work in paint and pen and ink.
After the opening of his work, Stout said he thought… “The opening was a success in my eyes because of the conversations I had with several people who were interested in the work and the political narrative at hand. There seemed to be a general interest in the formal identities present as well. Several people enjoyed the humor in the pieces, all of which satisfied me greatly.” He was also excited that many of his family members came to see his art work.
According to Stout… “There is a loose narrative in the work about the range of social classes that make up the sociological struggle for what is the southern heroic. The work deals with concepts of race, identity, political orientations, social class, the environment, war, drugs, and southern stereotypes, while existing in a comic and surrealistic visual language.”
Stout describes the different characters that appear in his paintings and what they represent. The Ghost of Davey Crockett is one character a viewer may find that… “Represents the state of the heroic, which can only be attained by death. When I was in San Antonio I was interested in developing the notion of the southern heroic or what it was, and I needed to start with a local hero that I could identify with from my own state. In a complete decision of irony I chose Davey Crockett, and I decided to bring him back from the grave. But because I’m also a big fan of horror movies I decided to make that decision literal, and paint him like a zombie or corpse, coon skin hat and all.
The Republican Machines is another theme one will find in these works. “You’ll notice in the paintings, they look like disjunctive body parts some how working together, rolling along the hillside spitting out bombs and destroying the environment. They usually are holding a flag with four stripes and one star.” Stout continued by saying that… “The star represents the lone star of Texas and the four stripes representing the four parts of the country: north, east, south, and west.”
Another character you may find in the paintings is The Redneck.
Stout states, “this is sort of the anti-hero, the toxic waste of all humanity, a byproduct of the republican machine, and the last survivor in a great deal amount of the work. He usually holds a magic wand, which symbolizes unused human potential. He is an outlaw, and represents the particular notion of the southern heroic. The aura around him symbolizes his guarded masculinity and past. He often stands on a tree trunk, which in the time of Davey Crockett represented a place of power, a place where people gave political speeches.”
Stout has been painting since he was 15. “The thing I love most about painting and especially my new work is the ability to inspire or create change from both a formal and conceptual perspective within a culture or society.” Anxiety, fear, resentment, pleasure, dreams, nostalgia, and love inspire Stout to create his work.
He received a Bachelors in Art from UTM in 2001 and Masters of Fine Art in Painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2004. He taught at San Antonio while working on his masters, both major and non-major courses. As his first semester teaching at UTM he is currently an adjunct professor of 2-D design and drawing courses.
Stout has been awarded numerous awards, including 2nd place and People’s Choice Award at the Best of Art Show at the West Tennesse Regional Art Center.
Stout’s work is also in many private collections throughout the U.S. The exhibit is currently in the Fine Arts lobby and will be up for anyone’s viewing.