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Like cars? Check out this high-octane exhibition at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

‘Cadillac Bumper Section’ by Clarence Measelle is an example of photorealism. The work is part of the ‘Cars in Art II’ exhibition at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.
‘Cadillac Bumper Section’ by Clarence Measelle is an example of photorealism. The work is part of the ‘Cars in Art II’ exhibition at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi. tmsmith@sunherald.com

An exhibit at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art should help rev up the engines of classic car enthusiasts who can’t wait for Cruisin’ The Coast.

“Cars in Art II” is in the IP Casino Resort & Spa Exhibitions Gallery at the museum through Oct. 21. The works are a mix of loans acquired through partnerships with other museums and through the artists themselves.

A pair of oils by New Orleanian James Michaelopoulos dominate one wall of the gallery, drawing the visitor into the streets of the Big Easy. Nearby, an original poster from the 1932 film “Racing Youth,” on loan from The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, is a scene from the past that conjures the excitement of the early days of racing.

Marilyn Murphy’s “Traveling Light” is a much calmer, whimsical reflection on our love affair with the auto. The dreamlike oil painting is representative of the Vanderbilt University professor’s works that “typically include an improbable action or a figure working at some curious task,” information provided by the museum states. “Murphy intentionally creates a dreamlike atmosphere in her work where the objects can be read as symbolic or actual.”

Clarence Measelle uses the photorealism technique in “Cadillac Bumper Section,” an almost tactile work in which the car’s chrome seems to catch the lights within the gallery. Measelle has been exhibiting his works for more than 40 years.

In this year’s exhibiton, the Ohr has included more original design drawings on loan courtesy of the GM Design Archive and Special Collections. The archive is based in Warren, Michigan, and preserves artifacts related to the history of automotive design. The drawings in the exhibition depict concept cars as well as early versions of iconic models, such as the Pontiac Firebird.

William Ferris might be most familiar to Mississippians as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at The University of Mississippi as co-editor of “The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.” He also hosted “Highway 61,” a weekly blues program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The Vicksburg native also is an artist, and one of his works, “Cold watermelon vendor, Leland, Mississippi, 1976,” is on loan from the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Artist Tony Watts became fascinated with classic and vintage automobiles when he bought a 1954 Triumph TR2 in his late teens. That appreciation has extended to his art. He creates mixed media three-dimensional images by layering photos on canvas or wood panels. In the exhibition, Watts showcases various car emblems.

In addition to these artists, the exhibition includes works by Rolland Golden, Lory Lockwood, Richard Estes and Patrick Nagatani.

The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art is at 386 Beach Blvd., Biloxi. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit georgeohr.org or call 228-374-5547.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

If you go

What: Cars in Art II

Where: Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, 386 Beach Blvd., Biloxi

When: Now through Oct. 21. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Phone: 228-374-5547.

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