Missy M. Litton is an Alabama transplant. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, she came to Birmingham to study at Birmingham-Southern College, where she recently got her Bachelors of Fine Art. She now calls Birmingham home. Since graduation, she had a group show with fellow artists Elaine Kinnaird and Celeste Pfau at Alabama School of Fine Arts in the fall of 2015. Litton is a relative new comer to the 21st Street Studios. After her group show, she realized she needed a dedicated space to work on her art. Shortly after she had moved into her studio space the chance to join the Ground Floor Contemporary Gallery came along and she was thrilled to get an opportunity to exhibit her work with the other artists in a dedicated gallery space on a regular basis.
Litton has been working at a large scale and with installation pieces for much of her time; these pieces invade a space and cause the viewer to engage with them. Recently, she has been exploring smaller works, realizing that the smaller scale of a piece encourages an intimate interaction and reflection for the viewer. She is lured to natural materials, a fact easily seen when looking around her studio, which is filled with bags of unprocessed Icelandic sheep’s wool, branches and twigs, twine, sinew, wax, and gut. The origin of these materials and the direction of her sculptural works go back to her time as a study abroad student in Glasgow, Scotland. Taking an archeology class there, she found herself amazed by how the human hand can mold a landscape, and years later one can still see how the land has been shaped. “It was just amazing to me to be looking at these cup and ring marks made by people years ago and be standing in a field with sheep all around,” said Litton of the experience.
She pulls influence and inspiration from both Truman Lowe and Hannah Lamb: Lowe, for his focus on landscape and archeology combined with identity and heritage; and Lamb, for the tactile nature of her pieces, particularly her bundled works mapping walks within a landscape. Litton's work is also driven by the ritual of making. The repetitive nature of the process is important to her work, and many of her pieces are made up of smaller elements. Working with her hands on knitting, tapestry weaving, and embroidery have also been ways for Litton to think about her work while doing a task that has a repetitive process by its nature.
Litton’s pieces have been on display at the Ground Floor Contemporary Gallery’s August and December 2016 shows and her work is currently up for the February 2017 show. Litton will next be showing in the gallery in a two person installation based show this upcoming September with fellow artist Elaine Kinnaird.