Tagged: Lafayette Louisiana

The August 2012 Lafayette, LA Artwalk Mise en Scene

 

The Acadiana Center for the Arts Senior Curator Brian Guidry and His Curatorial Assistant Carolyn Scalfano Faulk setting up for the exhibition “Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body”

The Acadiana Center for the Arts Lobby with a sculpture installation by participating “Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” artist Lisa Osborn

A view of the Acadiana Center for the Arts from Jefferson St. at the onset of Artwalk

Meditation on the Streets: Elaine Botts letting “the world hurry by” on Jefferson St.

An Artwalk crowd on Jefferson St.

Artwalk in full swing at the Acadiana Center for the Arts entrance

“Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” participating artist Lisa Osborn flexing her artist muscles before Acadiana Center for the Arts Senior Curator Brian Guidry, Lafayette artist and Creative Economy Summit Founder Emee Morgan and a friend

“Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” participating artist Jonathan “JJ” Wilson

“Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” participating artists  Natalie McLaurin, Ben Fox-McCord, Michael Pajon, along with Pajon’s friend and artist Shawne Major

Love Birds: Artist Shawne Major and poet/activist Jonathan Penton

Artist and Creative Economy Summit Founder Emee Morgan talking shop with “Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” participating artist Chyrl Savoy

Acadiana Center for the Arts patrons in the Main Gallery

A view of “Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” from the 2nd story bay window of the Acadiana Center for the Arts

A view of “Reconfigure: Transformations of the Body” from the 2nd story bay window of the Acadiana Center for the Arts

The title wall of the “Doodle Virus” exhibition at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

Installation of the “Doodle Virus” exhibition at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

Acadiana Center for the Arts patrons enjoying and buying the 250+ 4″ x 6″ works for sale in the “Doodle Virus” exhibition. All proceeds go to the Visual Arts Curatorial Department of the Acadian Center for the Arts.

Artist Ernie Fournet talking to a patron in the midst of his exhibition “It’s Not Easy Being a Cop”

I hope you enjoyed this visual tour through Lafayette’s art world … and dear reader, you can look forward to individual reviews on many of the exhibitions of the night in the near future!

 

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Beauty and the Beasts in the New Realm: Amy Guidry at Lafayette’s Ballet Academie

Amy Guidry

“Adaptation”

acrylic on cnavas

36″ x 48″

Amy Guidry

“Beginning”

acrylic on canvas

40″ x 30″

Amy Guidry

“Complete”

acrylic on canvas

30″ x 40″

Amy Guidry

“Freedom”

acrylic on canvas

48″ x 24″

Amy Guidry

“Renewal”

acrylic on canvas

48″ x 24″

Amy Guidry

“Tranquility”

acrylic on canvas

30″ x 40″

Amy Guidry

“Was It a Dream?”

acrylic on canvas

40″ x 30″

by Reggie Michael Rodrigue

Dorothea Tanning, the grande dame of American Surrealism, passed from this plain of existence into what I can only imagine to be the ether, the world of dream, earlier this year on January 31, 2012 in New York City. Tanning’s artistic output is vast- it straddled much of the 20th century. Considering that she died at 101, it was only natural for her work to mutate and take on many forms and styles, including abstraction, as she evolved as an artist. Toward the end of her life, after her husband Surrealist master Max Ernst passed, she took on the roles of writer and poet as well. Yet, it is her early work, grounded in figuration and Surrealism, that remains the touchstone of her canon to this day.  Tanning’s paintings such as “Birthday” and “A Little Night Music” take their viewers into a cloistered inner-world of feminine desire and becoming that is frank yet ultimately enigmatic. These works pictorially take place inside domestic settings, yet fantastical flora and fauna share these interiors with her women.

For instance, “Birthday” is a self portrait inside a maze-like home. In the portrait, Tanning stands in a doorway, wearing an anachronistic costume which includes a train of vegetation, and her breasts are exposed. It’s as if she just walked into the room and confronted the viewer. Yet, the look upon her countenance is ambiguous. One would expect shock to register on her face. Instead, the viewer is confronted with a visage that is on the edge of equanimity and fatigue. A lemur-like creature with wings huddles in the foreground of the painting, looking more stunned than the artist herself.

In Lafayette, LA, Artist Amy Guidry began the body of work she is currently showing at the Downtown Lafayette Ballet Academie shortly before Tanning’s death. There is serendipity at play here. Out of a strange coincidence comes a passing of the torch. Guidry’s work on display shares so many affinities with Tanning’s work that it is almost uncanny. Here’s the check list:

1. surreal figuration – check!

2. self portraiture – check!

3. fantastical flora and fauna – check!

4. allusions to female desire – check!

5. allusions to becoming – check!

6. unusual setting – check!

7. flamboyant fashions – check!

Despite all these correspondences, Guidry isn’t just repeating history, however. There’s a new sensibility to these paintings that probably could not have been registered in Tanning’s world of the 1940’s. Whereas, Tanning painted herself and her heroines in slightly ominous domestic settings, Guidry paints herself in a forest of birch trees floating in a white void. In symbolic terms, Guidry has created a tabula rasa ready for a new investigation into what it means to be a Western woman in the 21st Century.

In Tanning’s era, women were still viewed, on the whole, as second-class citizens whose main occupation was being “barefoot and pregnant,” regardless of the work of the earlier Suffragettes, female sweat shop workers of the late 19th and early 20th century, and the many women who entered the work force in the absence of men during WWII.  As soon as the war ended, hard working women were “put in the their place” once again, and were there until the dawn of the Feminist movement of the late 1960’s and 70’s.  It’s hard not to think that Tanning was responding to her times when she painted her Surrealist masterworks.  This is just conjecture, but she was painting a moment when women were caught between freedom (self determination) and gender entrapment – between what she and her sex needed or wanted and to what society as whole said that women could aspire.

Old habits die hard, and the ideas that Tanning was grappling with haven’t exactly died. Women still make less than men. They still have to deal with the issues of self-determination and their place in society – the recent brouhaha over writer Anne-Marie Slaughter’s recent Atlantic Monthly article about the debate over women being able to “have it all” is testament to that (Artinfo got into the fray and collected a gaggle of responses from female art professionals here.) However, a sea change is currently under way. Today, there are more women enrolled in universities than men. This means that there will soon be more educated women in the workforce than men, and the ranks of female professionals and politicians in the upper echelons of society continue to expand. The glass ceiling that women  have been under for so long seems to be cracking (the recent conservative obsession with the politics of women’s bodies only serves to underscore the progress women have made).  With this comes a new conception of what it means to be a woman. The title of Amy Guidry’s exhibition “New Realm” says it all.

In fact, (and I’m not entirely sure whether Guidry is aware of this, but…) in classic symbolism, birch trees signify new beginnings and a cleansing of the past. I spoke with the artist about her use of birch trees in the paintings at her opening, being curious about their use and considering that birch trees are not typically associated with Louisiana. Guidry told me that she was simply attracted to them for their visual quality. In the space of the white void and the cleansed forest, Guidry has unconsciously cleared the way for women to advance from their cloistered existence in domesticity into the future – and according to Guidry’s artworks, the future will be all about reconnecting to nature with women at the vanguard of this movement … and wearing some pretty fierce clothing! It might sound laughable, but if one is going to fight the good fight, one might as well look good doing it (Guidry is quite the snappy dresser, by the way). The clothing Guidry depicts herself in registers as simultaneously regal, militaristic, feminine, antique and contemporary, and the attention to the details of these garments is phenomenal. One could get lost in the shimmering folds and lacey effects that she marshals. This attention to detailed figuration also applies to the rest of her subjects from goldfish, butterflies, birds (especially the glorious pheasant departing Guidry’s mouth in “Freedom”), and flowers to her own lips, rosy pallor, and outsized heart in “Complete.”

The work goes much deeper than that, however. Guidry also seems to have found a way past the old conundrum of “the Madonna” and “the whore,” the two standard/opposing symbolic measurements of womanhood in patriarchal society. In Guidry’s “New Realm” paintings, a perfect balance is struck between spirituality and sensuality, with neither overpowering the other. One gets the sense that Guidry has a finely calibrated sense of self through these works, even when she is depicting herself in some sort of rapturous moment such as “Beginning.”  All together, the works in “New Realm” call to mind an incongruous but ultimately satisfying mix of Persephone, Joan of Ark, St. Francis of Assisi, Bjork, Kate Moss, Kazimir Malevich (the master of composing figures against a white background) and, as mentioned above,  Dorthea Tanning. Somehow, it all works and makes sense. It’s basically about the ability to choose one’s direction or directions without distraction, without shackles, and without having to ask for permission from the powers that be. Guidry seems to be saying that the real power resides inside all of us, whether we are innies, outties are something in between. We can all be “forces of nature” as long as we tend to ourselves and our surroundings with diligence, curiosity, wisdom and love.

Amy Guidry’s “New Realm” is on view at the Ballet Academie (200 Polk St., Lafayette, LA 70501) for the month of July until August’s 2nd Saturday Artwalk.

Chris LaBauve at the Warehouse on Garfield

Chris Labauve

“Standing on a Crack”

singed cigarette butt collage

Chris LaBauve

“Digging for Gold”

acrylic on cigarette packaging collage

Chris LaBauve

“Untitled”

archival glue and ink on wood

on view in the group exhibition at the Warehouse, 625 Garfield St., Lafayette, LA for the month of November 2011

*** Author’s note:  To read a review of  this exhibition, please see the the post titeled “Off the Beaten Path at the Warehouse on Garfield” here.

Camille Adrienne Banuchi at the Warehouse on Garfield

Camille Adrienne Banuchi

“Fire in the Sky”

gilded oil painting (composition and precious leaf)

on view in the group exhibition at the Warehouse, 625 Garfield St., Lafayette, LA for the month of November 2011

*** Author’s note:  To read a review of  this exhibition, please see the the post titeled “Off the Beaten Path at the Warehouse on Garfield” here.

Johnathan “JJ” Wilson in “Revolution No. 63” at Parish Ink

Johnathan “JJ” Wilson

“White Lotus Club”

White 2011 Windsor Wellington with custom paint

Courtesy Travis Aucoin

on view in the group exhibition “Revolution No.63″ at Parish Ink, 310 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501

*** Author’s Note: If you would like to read the review of “Revolution No.63,” please see the previous post on this site titled “Free Wheelin’ It: ‘Revolution No. 63 at Parish Ink” here.

Recycled Cycles in “Revolution No. 63” at Parish Ink

Recycled Cycles

“1930-1940 Boardtrack Racer Replica (Schwinn Wizzer)”

1930’s Bicycle Racer, 1940’s tank, 1941 Whizzer H Motor, 1936 Elgin wheels

on view in the group exhibition “Revolution No.63″ at Parish Ink, 310 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501

*** Author’s Note: If you would like to read the review of “Revolution No.63,” please see the previous post on this site titled “Free Wheelin’ It: ‘Revolution No. 63 at Parish Ink” here.

 

Bike Helmet Art in “Revolution No. 63” at Parish Ink

Bike Helmet Art in “Revolution No. 63”

(from top, left to right)

Johnathan “JJ” Wilson, “Capped and Loaded,” bottle caps and helmet frame

Jessalyn newton and Mike Bourque, “Horny Japan,” acrylic and foam core on helmet frame

Johnathan “JJ” Wilson, “Wavveessss,” acrylic and ink on helmet frame

Derrick Ewing, “Don’t Break yo Head,” acrylic and ink helmet frame

Yerba the Yenta, “Challa Back, B@$%&s!,” crocheted yarn, dolls, wire and fabric on helmet frame

Mike Bourque, “Untitled,” acrylic on helmet frame

Monica Zabicki, “Gears,” acrylic and ink on helmet frame

Jessalyn Newton, “Untitled,” photocollage on helmet frame

Landon Bell, “Untitled,” wire sculpture

Matthew Guidry, “Storm a Coming,” acrylic on helmet frame

Artist Unknown, “Ceremeonial Helmet for the Secret Sky-wheelie Ritual,” acrylic, feathers, departed souls and psychic energies on helmet frame

on view in the group exhibition “Revolution No.63″ at Parish Ink, 310 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501

*** Author’s Note: If you would like to read the review of “Revolution No.63,” please see the previous post on this site titled “Free Wheelin’ It: ‘Revolution No. 63 at Parish Ink” here.