Memphis-based sculptor Elisha Gold is coming home to Gulfport for a 10-year retrospective art exhibit, including his metal sculptures.
Select pieces from his collection highlighting significant periods in his figurative work will be on display at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jefferson Davis campus Fine Arts Gallery in Gulfport.
Show dates are Jan. 11 through Feb. 4; a farewell reception will be held from noon to 1 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. with an artist's talk at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
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Gold, 34, was born in Maui but grew up in Gulfport. He first began to explore metal fabrication in machine and welding courses at Harrison Central High School, where he repurposed found objects to create life-size fine art "junk art" sculptures. One of these sculptures went on to win Best of Show at Biloxi's Trash to Treasure recycled art competition in 2000.
"I always made art outside of class to fulfill my desire to create and further my style," Gold said.
When he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from William Carey in 2005, he had won the People's Choice Award for best artwork for four consecutive years in the university's annual student art competition.
He had already exhibited in galleries such as the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans.
In 2009, Gold earned a master of fine arts in sculpture, with a specialization in metallurgic arts, at the University in Memphis. There, he worked as an adjunct professor, teaching assistant, shop technician and metals instructor.
Memphis fosters art
Gold said he chose to remain in Memphis as a professional artist because the city fosters the arts. The "historically cool" city is open to new and exciting ideas, he said.
He has a studio in town where he creates large-scale public and private works on commission and has become an integral part of the arts scene. Notable pieces include his 9-foot kinetic sphere "Beacon," made from 51 spinning rims for the Sears building. As part of the Live From Memphis arts cooperative, he created a 7-foot kinetic halo for the rooftop of the Live From Memphis building.
Playing with fire
He also does pyrotechnic performances as part of "Art on Fire" with Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Gold exhibits around the country, and in 2015, he exhibited for the first time in New York City as part of "The Memphis Bowery."
Gold's work is primarily figurative and made of bronze and steel.
He said his work begins when he discovers an interesting ready-made object, which he combines with human characteristics and forged metal objects to create a "biomechanical narrative." He uses the human face so the viewer can have a more personal experience with the sculpture.
"I can't escape the mechanical aspect of the body. In my work I express the relationship of soul and machine working as one," he said. "My work emerges from metal and imagination to make a sculpture I love."
Gold is excited to return to his hometown for his retrospective exhibit.
"I love having the chance to show how my work has progressed over the last 10 years and then focus on where my art is going next," he said. "I want to further my ability to express the figure in a more intimate way to connect with a variety audiences.
"I want to continue making larger-than-life public sculptures for the masses."
The Jefferson Davis campus is at 2226 Switzer Road and the art gallery is in Building D.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Details: 897-3909.