Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shreveport Artist Rachel Stuart-Haas

During a recent conference in Shreveport, LA I surveyed the local art scene. Shreveport has an art museum, a weekly outdoor art market, and a few little art galleries. Many of the buildings are also covered in original murals. Despite this, I found that most of the downtown area seemed abandoned, and I only managed to locate one gallery. That gallery (Artspace, linked here) was featuring an exhibition by Rachel Stuart-Haas. The postcard from her show is pictured below.

Stuart-Hass described her work as drawing on her emotions and experiences of being a woman. Her artist statement added that many of the pieces exhibited were based on thoughts and feelings she had while becoming a new mother.

To that, I would add that her paintings definitely have a sense of mystery to them. I have also noticed how she has drawn inspiration from other artists including Michelangelo and Gaugun. I have included three of my favorites, in no particular order.

I enjoyed the work of Stuart-Hass. I liked how she composed her images and used her space. Many of the images were flattened, but I think this added to the overall feelings derived from the content presented. The pen and ink images were smaller and somewhat playful, which contrasted nicely with the larger paintings that dealt with heavier concepts. What was presented was a nice body of work, and a very talented artist.

I think it is important to support artists and galleries at any level. I know an artist who once remarked that "...artists are a dime a dozen." And while it's true that there are artists everywhere, if we do not support their efforts and build a community the responds to artistic endeavors, artistic expressions will be lost.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Progress of a painting

This week's post is going to be more visual than textual. I recently completed a painting, and I documented the progress that I made with each wash. I work mostly with watercolor these days, and before I added each layer I photographed the previous layer when it was dry. I was surprised to learn that, for this image, I only went over it eight times. I would have thought it was more.

Wash 1

Wash 2

Wash 3

Wash 4

Wash 5

Wash 6

Wash 7

Wash 8

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Arts Fest and Frank Lloyd Wright

Image courtesy of the artist

For those of you who do not know me personally, I am the fine arts librarian at a community college in south Louisiana. This week the college kicks off Arts Fest 2012. This is an annual event where the campus hosts a variety of art related activities, exhibitions, and shows for the next two weeks. We in the library have been receiving calls every day asking the location of the gallery. This is where a display of student paintings, prints, and drawings will be exhibited (they were setting it up on Saturday afternoon), and based on the number of calls people are very excited about this. Arts fest is also going to feature a visit by Louisiana artist Kathryn Hunter. An example of her instaltion art is pictured above. The full schedule of events can be read here.

Arts Fest is a celebration of all art forms. There's to be theater performances, music recitals, dance demonstrations, movies screened, and of course visual art. I enjoy the collaborative efforts to combine all the arts. Too often, particularly in academic settings, I believe there is an effort to compartmentalize the arts by discipline. However, when these forms of human expression are brought together the results are usually amazing, more so than when presented individually.

For example, I have provided the following video link:(link removed from internet, hopefully it will be replaced later)

This was a collaborative effort between Los Angeles singer Simone White, and her friend Hideyuki Katsumata. It was created as a response to the terrible earthquake that hit Japan one year ago. I find the images and the singing to be a haunting reminder of the power of nature. And I think the execution of this piece, with both music and printed animation, adds a great deal to what is being communicated.

Finally, I wanted to include a story and link about a dog house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, even though it doesn't really fit with the theme of this post. The article can be found here. I enjoy this story. It's too bad Eddie never got to enjoy the house that was designed for him.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Art Show

This past Saturday I went to a one-night all-night art show. To have the exhibition at night for one night only, added to the experience of the art. The painting above is an example of the art shown, created by William G Osborne III.

Osborne wrote, in his artist statement, that his art was meant to be experienced as it was. The works were not meant to be complicated depictions, but full representations of optical imagery. He stated that each image was based on something he had seen/experienced but that it was not important for viewers to know what. By exhibiting them for one night at night, the artist created an environment in which to focus solely on that art. If one were to step right outside the gallery, darkness and solitude would envelop.

The view up the street:

The view down the street:

There was little else going on.

I found the concept of the show interesting, but I was not terribly impressed by the art as it stood alone. I think that had this show been open during normal gallery hours, the impact of the work would not be as effective. In this case the exhibition was less of a show and more an installation piece.

Some upcoming shows that I might attend are below.

Encaustic Printmaking Exhibition March 10-April 6
Reception Saturday March 24

LSU Art Faculty Exhibition March 7-30
Reception Friday, March 9