Folk Art Tour Stops at WSCC Museum of Art

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Mary Standifer/CullmanSense

HANCEVILLEWallace State Community College’s art museum is currently showcasing two influential folk artists’ work. An assortment of pottery pieces by Jerry Brown and paintings by Mose Tolliver are on display at The Evelyn Burrow Museum of Art through July 2.

Both artists are Alabama natives; Jerry Brown was born in 1942 in Pine Springs Alabama, and Mose Tolliver was born in approximately 1920 near Montgomery.

Jerry Brown is a renowned potter who learned the trade from his father. “Jug” Brown, as his father was called, trained his two sons in a nineteenth-century style of pottery making. After the death of his father, Brown decided he could no longer stay in the pottery business. Brown became a logger for almost twenty years of his life before deciding to reenter the pottery trade. 

Although Brown still uses many of the traditional styles of pottery making passed down to him by his father, his work has expanded the process in various ways. Though face jugs are some of the most well-known pieces from him, he has also begun experimenting with different glazes. Brown says he can remember his father making a few face jugs, but “Jug” Brown mainly stuck to utilitarian pieces. 

By the time Brown got back into the pottery business, Alabama was beginning to take an interest in folk art as a whole, especially pottery. The National Endowment for the Arts funded a documentary in 1985 called Unbroken Tradition which documented the processes used at Jerry Brown’s shop. Brown, who has managed to pass on his traditional style of pottery making to students at his shop, won the National Heritage Award in 1992.

Mose Tolliver began painting due to boredom after he was injured while sweeping for a furniture company in the 1970s; a load of marble fell onto his legs and crushed them.

Tolliver began painting on pieces of cardboard, wood, and other materials that would normally be thrown away. He began selling the paintings out of his front yard to people passing by for a dollar or two. The pictures were painted using mainly house paint. 

Tolliver’s work often featured self-portraits in which he would paint a representation of himself wielding crutches. His work also features birds, flora, children, and other animals.

Tolliver is particularly well known for his paintings featuring suggestive adult content. The most famous series of these types of paintings are his “Moose Ladies”.

The gallery currently features over 90 pieces of folk art and is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For more, visit http://news.wallacestate.edu/2015/05/26/the-evelyn-burrow-museum-showing-work-of-folk-artists-moset-and-jerry-brown.