A new episode of Points South is now playing!Subscribe today and never miss an episode. Episode Three features Arkansas’s “cemetery angel,” Ruth Coker Burks, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Three Encounters” + a performance by Los Texmaniacs. For more information visit oxfordamerican.org/pointssouth. | Oct, 2019
A Points South essay from the Fall 2019 issue
This approach, of stitching different strands of colored yarn through canvas so many times that the individual strings join in a subtle and collective harmony, leads to an image made of rigorous yet soft details. Nothing is exact but everything is defined. The result is a portrait—Miller’s work is almost exclusively portraits—that from across a room is startlingly realistic and that up close, near the strands, can feel alive and uncomfortably intimate, like being so near someone’s personal affairs that fears and failures are sensed.
A Southern Journey from the Summer 2019 issue.
He began the letter by asking Larry to cremate him and scatter his ashes next to his second wife’s ashes at Johnson Beach in Perdido Key, Florida, “approximately 75 yards from end of road, then straight out to the beach . . . where lovey’s ashes were scattered.” Then, Tom addressed the business of his art. “Now Larry,” the letter read. “I know you don’t know shit about art but DO NOT destroy my work.”
A featured short story from the Fall 2018 issue.
Our distant ancestor Harriett Moss made a living painting portraits of dead children. But before her career began in earnest, she sketched only cows. It was her husband, Thomas Moss, who painted from corpses, memorializing deceased sons and daughters for their families. People often said Thomas had the constitution for the work because he and Harriett had not been able to have children of their own. While Thomas traveled the countryside—following up with commissions, measuring cadavers that he would reanimate in two dimensions—Harriett was left alone at their farmhouse.
Photographs from the Summer 2017 issue by Johanne Rahaman with an introduction by Sarah Stacke.
Built in the early 1940s, Blodgett Homes is a 654-unit public housing complex. According to Cherlise, who was born in 1982, the community there used to operate like a family-minded village. But a downward spiral began in 1960 when Interstate 95 was built—with the government’s full understanding of the disruption it would cause—on the complex’s doorstep, provoking many families to move.
Photographs from This Land: An American Portrait.
Jack Spencer spent thirteen years working on the project and traveled more than eighty thousand miles across all forty-eight contiguous states looking for scenes and moments that he says are “an expression of the perception of an ideal.”
An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.
San Antonio is the patron saint of lost causes, and Rolando created a statue of him in faux-marble white with the Alamo perched like a hat, except that the saint is upside down, so the Alamo is at his feet. When you want something, Rolando says, you flip the statue upside down.
A conversation with Arkansas artist buZ blurr.
“Although my father and his father were railroad men, my maternal grandmother's father was a newspaperman who published weekly in three different cities in northeast Arkansas: at Gainesville, Rector, and Paragould. He learned the printer’s trade by apprenticing with Mark Twain on his brother Orion Clemens’ Hannibal, Missouri, newspaper prior to the Civil War. Thus I claim this as an atavistic trait for my affinity for print.”
“My father was a coal miner for thirty-five years and died of black lung,” Howard told me, while resting from the heat and overhead brushstrokes of the outdoor mural he’s working on for a local food pantry. “When I [told my father] I wanted to study art—well, that wasn’t well received.”