Monday, April 24, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 139

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About the Cougar

Maxwell shows grotesque art in The Honors College

By Julie Burlingame
News Reporter

Visual artists and writers share a common bond: the chains of inspiration. When the muse is capricious, authors and artists frequently seek, and find, inspiration in each other's works.

One art student, junior Angela Maxwell, found her muse in the work of short story writer Flannery O'Connor.

Three of Maxwell's sketches and a portrait on canvas, all of which were directly inspired by O'Connor's stories, are currently on display in the lounge of The Honors College along with several other compositions the artist felt related to the overall theme.

" The idea for Maxwell's exhibit came from an upper-level English seminar taught by Bill Monroe, associate professor of English in The Honors College.

Each of the students in the class prepared a semester project, but Monroe said Maxwell's project "was one of the best I've seen in terms of an original assignment."

Among the other assignments was one looking at the popular cartoon series The Simpsons as a modern-day O'Connor analogy, Monroe said.

O'Connor's stories are characterized by a fascination for the grotesque, which caused many Southerners to feel she portrayed them unrealistically. Maxwell's works are imbued with similarly grotesque and absurd elements.

"(We're) all really impressed by what she's done," said Stuart Stern, another student in the course, of Maxwell's exhibit. Stern also said he felt Maxwell's work was appropriate to the subject matter.

Maxwell said she feels many people do not understand or appreciate some modern art because they don't understand the context in which it was created.

Although Maxwell has mixed feelings about people viewing and commenting on her work, she said she feels "there is something good going on if it arouses that much emotion."

The Honors College lounge is located in the basement of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library and is accessible from the exterior of the library's north side.

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