Tagged: photography

“My Eye” on Louisiana: The Works of Kerry Griechen

All photographs by Kerry Griechen, courtesy of the artist and My Eye Photography

by Reggie Rodrigue

Having a wandering eye is typically not something of which to be proud – unless one is a photographer. In that case, having a wandering eye is essential. Curiosity about the physical world around oneself and the intense obsession with capturing an image of it either objectively or subjectively (and who can really tell the difference between the two anymore) is the basis for all of photography. Mature photographers typically focus on one or two particular corners of reality; however, every serious photographer I know started his career with an indomitable drive to document his life and travels in light, photographing everything that his insatiable eye could consume until he found a subject or a process that truly spoke to him.

Lafayette, LA‘s Kerry Griechen is a photographer of many things. However, his eloquence comes to the fore when he is focusing on the natural wonders, urban landscape, and people of South Louisiana. Griechen’s body of work offers viewers a dazzling and beautiful mosaic of life in the region from a mother roseate spoonbill feeding her fledgling in the wild or the time-worn pastiche of a decrepit warehouse facade to a New Orleanian starting his day by hosing-off a French Quarter sidewalk.

In truth, none of these subjects may be particularly new or novel to South Louisiana’s native population. They may not even be new or novel to people outside of the state. There isn’t much in the way of disquieting or provocative imagery in Griechen’s photographs. He isn’t exploring some esoteric or conceptual process in his photography, either; although, he does dabble in Photoshop techniques every once in a while to highly mixed results that veer toward the dismissible. Therefore, some avant guardists may wonder about the artistic merit of such work. One can hear their groans: “Beauty for beauty’s sake? Bah! Humbug! Bring me an MFA grad who eats glass, takes photographs of his excrement and subjects said photographs to a complex chemical process that renders them illegible! Now that’s art!” That may very well be art in the right hands, but a straight-forward, beautiful image of the world can be art as well – in the right hands. Griechen proves this over and over.

In his most arresting photographs, Griechen focuses his sharp eye for composition, pattern, texture and color on mostly solitary figures and quiet moments devoid of any human presence. Through his simple process, he manages to mine some complex and layered images of Southern Louisiana that are both mundane, serene and, simultaneously, breath-taking in their attention to detail. When other people may walk past a dirty, brick wall festooned with an electrical meter, water pipes and graffiti, Griechen sees an opportunity to zoom-in tightly on the particulars and create a quasi-abstraction that would look smart beside a Kandinsky. The combination of a fence and the corner of an Acadian house with a stairway leading to its garconniere offered another photographic opportunity to Griechen: in this instance, he deftly exploited the angles of the architecture to create an image of visual complexity to rival any of M.C. Escher‘s imaginary labyrinths. Griechen has taken a photograph of a walking path surreptitiously created between a group of sugarcane harvesting trucks that visually echoes a path through an autumnal wood. He captures lush, green water lily pads or cypress trees framing and offering a sense of depth and scale to lone and elegant egrets in the wild. He finds visual drama and dynamics in an open doorway which leads from the blunt geometry of a worn, green French Quarter wall to a luxurious and inviting courtyard or the sight of a rainbow as seen through the nets hanging from a trawling boat. He also finds something poetic in the sight of a man putting away a pack of cigarettes into his jeans pocket while lingering in the doorway of a New Orleans tourist trap. To come full circle – if one looks closely to the left portion of this image, one can spy a three-quarter profile view of the graffitied wall mentioned at the top of this paragraph.

It’s no secret that in many respects, Griechen is tackling some well-worn, cliched Louisiana subjects, but it is the depth and precision of his response that rescues them from banality and superficiality. That, in and of itself, is an art. There is something to be said for a body of work that simply and effectively renews one’s interest in the world around oneself with all of its wonder and beauty. For all of those people who cannot accept an unabashedly beautiful, if somewhat conventional, image as art, I have this to say: artistic rigor is one thing; artistic rigor mortis is another thing, entirely. Too many artists these days confuse artistic rigor with difficulty, obtuseness and the idea that beauty is anathema when beauty (whichever way it is achieved) is really the name of the game and the game itself.

Some people find beauty in nature or the streets. Some people find beauty in geometry or abstraction. Others find beauty in ideas. Some find beauty in sexually charged material or blood, guts and excrement, and others find beauty in nothing.

However, the best people find beauty in everything!

Kerry Griechen is currently exhibiting his work in Lafayette Consolidated Government’s City Hall building on the corner of University Ave. and St. Landry St. in Lafayette, LA until the first week of May 2013.

To view more works by Griechen online, visit his website www.myeyephotos.com

Signs, Signs! Everywhere There’s Signs!

by Reggie Michael Rodrigue

The Great Gatsby Cover

A cover of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the novel “The Great Gatsby,” the penultimate meditation on the dark heart of America in the Roaring 20’s, the author F. Scott Fitzgerald introduces his readers to a profoundly denatured landscape – a modern wasteland – known as the Valley of Ashes. It is a toxic zone where industrial ash is dumped between the embarrassingly affluent, new money enclave of West Egg, Long Island and the bright lights and big dreams of New York City. In the context of the novel, the Valley of Ashes symbolizes the spiritual, social and environmental decay that is the end result of a life spent in the unbridled pursuit of wealth, consumption and pleasure at any cost.

Ashpile

An ashpile

Within Fitzgerald’s wasteland, particular interest is paid to signage and advertisements. As the American economic engine of the 1920’s raced into its seemingly dazzling future with the fury of a hellbent Duesenberg after WWI, advertising was there to stoke it’s fire. Consumerist culture reached a new apex in the 1920’s due in large part to the nascent proliferation of newspapers, magazines, leaflets, billboards, electric/neon signage and radio. All of these media converged on the nation and advertised the latest and greatest innovations to a public desperate to move past the horrors of the war into a modern, gleaming pleasure dome of unknown convenience and luxury.

The cultural landscape of the nation succumbed to desire, and Fitzgerald was keenly aware of this. The most potent and terrifying symbol in “The Great Gatsby” is not the Valley of Ashes itself, but a faded billboard located in this liminal zone. The billboard advertises the practice of occulist, Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. The billboard simply presents the large, bespectacled eyes of the doctor hovering over all of the desolation. On one hand, the billboard represents the eyes of God judging America from on high. On the other hand, the billboard obliquely represents an erosion of progressive vision and meaning in a land engulfed in wantonness and consumption. Fitzgerald seemed to be saying that when all of the images a people hold sacred are foisted back on them for the purposes of selling toothpaste, gasoline and soda, the world becomes meaningless and a vacant shell only suitable to be filled with more commodities and the refuse left behind after the act of consumption has taken place.

Recreation of the Valley of Ashes with Dr. T.J. Eckelberg Billboard

Recreation of the Valley of Ashes with Dr. T. J. Eckleburg’s Billboard as described in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”

Nearly a century after Fitzgerald’s time, the transformation of America by capitalists and the media into the world’s used car lot is complete. Nearly every square inch of America has become mediated for the purposes of selling something, whether it’s cars, smart phones, breakfast cereal, insurance and healthcare, public schools, ideas and even you, dear reader. You’re being sold, too. Take some time to look up what a “data broker” is and delight in the fact that personal information about your life and what you buy is a commodity as well – to be schilled to corporations thanks to the ease of aggregating terabytes of data by way of the ubiquity of digital technology in our lives. The implications of this brave, new world of consumer data mining are vast. Whereas the media of the 20th century was all about creating large, singular marketing projects that were meant to carpet bomb the cultural landscape of the time for mass effectiveness, the media of the 21st has learned to be a lot more insidious and personal. After all, what company really needs billboards anymore, when said company can interact and send perfectly targeted advertisements to prospective consumers through Facebook and other social media sites selling your personal information, where the masses commune alone-together inside the pseudo-privacy of their digital bubbles.

In this sense, pop culture has begun to eat us and itself. We’ve begun to be nostalgic for a simpler time when pop was a high-wattage diner sign gleaming on the horizon, the kooky messages and curt phrases of letterboards or a homemade advertisement slapped together by a mom-and-pop store. To us in the 21st century, these things now seem quite Romantic-with-a-capital-R. The fact is that many of these artifacts of early consumerist culture are either in a state of half-life, ruin, or they are vanishing from the cultural landscape altogether. Inspect any new Apple Computer Store and take a whiff of what’s to come. This is the future- and this as well.  Seamless consumption! Today, the Romance-quotient of earlier forms of advertising and marketing blooms like a cross between a Googie architecture sunburst and a Caspar David Friedrich painting of a gutted church in the wilderness. We remember the good old days of coming together in person under the auspices of that banal yellow Waffle House sign to worship Baal covertly in plain sight while stuffing our faces with hashbrowns, pork sausage patties and eggs, and it was good (even though Waffle Houses still dot the American landscape). How metamodern of us – to be nostalgic for something that is still with us, although in a degraded form! Amen!

The reason for all of my babble about advertising, consumerism and nostalgia is an art exhibition at May Gallery by two artists from Brooklyn, New York – Alli Miller and Trey Burns – in the St. Claude Arts District of New Orleans . The exhibition is titled “Wessel Castle,” a portmanteau derived from combining the beginning of pop artist Tom Wesselmann‘s surname  with the “Castle” in White Castle, the burger chain known for deliciously shitty, little square burgers with steam holes in them that have attracted rabid fans across our nation – most notably the writers of “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Title wall for Alli Miller and Trey Burns “Wessel Castle” exhibition at May Gallery

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Installation view of “Wessel Castle” with title wall at May Gallery

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Installation view of “Wessel Castle” at May Gallery

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Installation view of “Wessel Castle” at May Gallery

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Installation View of “Wessel Castle” at May Gallery.

Images of Wesselmann’s works or White Castle chains are non-existent in the exhibition, but by invoking them, Miller and Burns set up a dialectic for the show that casts a pall over the exhibition while still evoking the Romantic. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, when Wesselmann and White Castle had hit their stride as cultural zeitgeists, they stood for a confluence of cultural ease, efficiency and sensual delight that was America’s promise at the time.  Within “Wessel Castle”, we, the audience, are left with the abject physical and metaphysical fallout from such short-sighted lines of thought along with a heaping dose of nostalgia for a simpler, less complicated time.

The exhibition is mostly a photographic exploration of the cultural backwaters and architectural relics that fit into the rubric of what Wesselman and White Castle represent to us today. However, Miller and Burns’ images are all presented to us on a ground of Tyvek – the relatively new industrial insulating material which the long-standing, corporate giant Dupont advertises as “Superior protection against water and air infiltration. Improved energy efficiency & air quality.

Tyvek is actually quite a humorous and ironic choice in which to cover the walls of the exhibition. Here, Miller and Burns exploit the material due to it’s connection to New Orleans, a city still in the process of rebuilding itself after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Visit any ward in the middle of a revitalization in New Orleans, and one will surely see Tyvek being placed on new homes and buildings. Tyvek was also the material of choice for the protective suits worn by first responders and clean-up crews after the hurricane. Beyond this connection, one can also view the Tyvek of the exhibition as a sly recreation of red carpet backdrops at major entertainment events that advertise which companies have supported the event proceedings with funding. The Tyvek background of “Wessel Castle” forces the viewer to question the sincerity of the nostalgic/Romantic photographs on view.

There is another questionable presentational device in the exhibition as well. Each wall-mounted photograph in the exhibition is presented in a frame with its protective, cardboard, cornice sleeves in tact. A quirky, little touch like this has a big impact, demanding one question the intent of the artists. Are the sleeves there to offer protection to the fragile images, or are they there to mock them as freshly minted commodities? Personally, I think that they do both.

Within the images of “Wessel Castle,” Miller and Burns point us toward a couple of strange roadside attractions and a preponderance of billboards and letterboards in various states of disarray.

In “Espresso,” the viewer is asked to contemplate the kitschy glory of a coffee shop housed inside a concrete replica of an American Indian tepee.

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “Espresso,” photograph

“We Buy Gold” is a beautifully haunting image of a repurposed Waffle House sign hovering over a motel pool surrounded by trees. The combination of the reflective, blue water, shady trees and the deadpan audacity of the towering yellow sign advertising a pawn shop/gold exchange lure one into the image. The photograph is drowsy with cheap luxury and the sort of blue sky noir one finds in David Lynch films.

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “We Buy Gold,” photograph

On one of their roadtrips, Miller and Burns were lucky enough to come across a Geico Insurance advertisement via skywriting. The photograph “Geico Geico” is the end result of this coincidence. Here, the name of the company hiccups across the sky in short puffs of smoke while a street light seems to reach up and underscore the advertisement.

In “Untitled (Road Signs),” a quartet of cacti are adorned with wooden ladders or supports for some mysterious reason. They rise in isolation from a desert landscape while vehicles and highway signs dot the horizon behind them.

In another photograph of a nearly barren landscape, “Museum Next Exit,” a shoddy, utilitarian sign advertises the near presence of culture behind a barbed wire fence.

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “Museum Next Exit,” photograph

“Untitled (Memorial)” commemorates a hilltop site of remembrance capped by a white cross and a propped-up wooden rainbow. The image is equally beautiful and pathetic.

“Untitled (Geometric Sign)” presents the top of a disused and repurposed highway sign peeking out into a serene sky from the bottom of the photograph. What purpose this sign has now seems to be a mystery since all that occupies it in the image are modernistic blocks of color. Maybe the sign points the way to some type of secret Bauhaus utopia off one of America’s lost highways?

The last of the quasi-yet-hyper-surreal images in “Wessel Castle” is “Untitled (Double Horizon),” which provides the visual enigma of a painted desert landscape on a shipping container located in the middle of an actual desert landscape. It’s one of the smarter and more enchanting images in the exhibition. The artifice of the painting (despite its clumsy nature) seems more real by virtue of the stupendous bluntness and incongruence of the shipping container supporting it. It’s as if one can step into the landscape a second time through the painting on the container. “Untitled (Double Horizon)” one-ups the work of Rene’ Magritte and is a sly homage to the surrealist/advertising man who could also be a spiritual father of the work in the exhibition.

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “Untitled (Double Horizon),” photograph

Along with the images above, one must wrestle with the achingly banal yet disconcerting images of abused, neglected or abandoned letterboard signs communicating gibberish in the midst of urban blight/sprawl or lonely stretches of the American landscape. The titles of the images like “B B OW E,” “GR EENL AWEBARBER P,” and “– P E C” telegraph the communication breakdown. The signs in these images have nothing and everything to say about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going as a society. As Romantic landscape/memento mori, these images ask us to come to terms with our collective past as the world’s most recent divinely manifested consumers, and they remind us that today’s Facebook will inevitably be tomorrow’s disabused letterboard – only this time all that will remain will be data inside a digital cloud. That is if we and the cloud do survive.

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “– P E C,” photograph

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “GR EENL AWEBARBER P,” photograph

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, ” B B OW E,” photograph

“Wessel Castle” also has some sculpture, but these 3-D stabs at the subject seem less successful than the photographs. Two pedestals made from what look to be wire crates each display two photographs. The gestures here seem rather glib, arbitrary and presumptive – as if the artists thought that their audience needed sculpture to complete the experience of the exhibition and neatly fit into the rubric of 21st century, multidisciplinary artodoxy (pun intended). Miller and Burns’ “Lightbox,” a plastic bin converted into an actual lightbox displaying a photograph of a brick wall with a badly painted trompe l’oeil chest of drawers inside the lid, is more of a success than the pedestals in that it is clever; however, it still seems unnecessary within the context of the exhibition. That also applies to the coat rack from which “We Buy Gold” hangs.

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “Pedestal #2 ‘Signscape’,” mixed media sculpture

Wessel Castle at May Gallery

Alli Miller and Trey Burns, “Lightbox,” mixed media sculpture

In summation, “Wessel Castle,” despite its small, 3-D disappointments, with its abject/pop/Romantic subject matter, is as formidable as it’s name implies in that it asks deep and timely questions about our collective values in this age of postpop hyperconsumption. We may have moved on to more ethereal, elegant, precise and intelligent ways of marketing ourselves in the 21st century, but so far, this has mostly just served as a means to continue to feed the voracious appetites we acquired in the past. Luckily, the beauty and wonder of the photographs in the exhibition make the contemplation of such things more palatable and also add another level of complexity to the exhibition. Within ‘Wessel Castle,” we see a glimpse from our society’s rear-view mirror, and the signs, objects and landscapes are unequivocally closer (and more complicated) than they seem.

** All photographs of “Wessel Castle” are courtesy of May Gallery

** For more information the May Gallery, click here.

The High Museum of Art’s “Picturing the South” on Oxford American

 

Martin Parr

“USA, Atlanta, A Pawn Shop”

courtesy of the artist

Kael Alford

“Joseph and Jasmon Jackson Play in the Bayou, Isle de Jean Charles”

courtesy of the artist

Shane Lavalette

“Ground Zero”

courtesy of the artist

My new article on this year’s iteration of the ongoing photography exhibition “Picturing the South” at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta is up on the Oxford American website. Photographers Martin Parr, Kael Alford and Shane Lavalette offer viewers some very distinct interpretations of Southern identity, culture and landscape. Parr chose to focus his mordant lens on the the hierarchy of cultures that make-up the city of Atlanta, GA, skewing every level of the city with an in-your-face sense of humor and satire. Alford goes for a more devastatingly Romantic take on the ongoing environmental ,political and cultural disasters plaguing the small island Isle de Jean Charles off the coast of Louisiana. Lavalette takes a more circuitous route through the South, focusing on it’s musical heritage. It’s a smorgasbord of Southerness that is both surprising at times and totally expected at others. You be the judge of whether they got it right or wrong- let me know what you think in the comments section of this post! To view the article, follow the link to “The Only Stair That Doesn’t Creek” on the Oxford American website here.

 

C’est Une Valse: A Night at the Warehouse on Garfield

Amanda Holt Robichaux

Approaching the Horizon

acrylic on canvas triptych

Brett Chigoy

Fire and Brimstone

enamel, dye and goldleaf on hand-tooled leather

Camille Banuchi

Sunset Drive – Arrival

gilded media on panel

Christopher Labauve

Untitled

ink on panel

Gabrielle Savoy

Untitled

mixed media

Lucius Fontenot

C’est une Valse

digital photograph

Pilar Z. McCracken

Untitled

prints

Rocky Perkins

Countdown

oil and acrylic on canvas

On February 11, 2012, my wife Kirstie and I had quite the day. Mardi Gras fever had taken hold of Lafayette. My wife’s main priority was attending the local dog parade with our Shih Tzu, Gigi. I was dreading it, and once we were there, I regretted every minute of it. I’ve got absolutely nothing against dogs, but dog parades are pretty ridiculous. It’s been my experience that dogs generally detest clothing and costumes, yet we humans continue to anthropomorphize and exploit them for our amusement. I suppose it’s a small price for a species to pay in exchange for free room and board. Anyway, Gigi was freezing and miserable, even though she was sporting her pink skull-and-crossbones sweater (’cause she’s so punk rock – LMAO!). She kept on shivering and ducking between us to avoid being pelted by beads or attacked by other dogs. Mercifully, it ended rather quickly despite some logistical hiccups. Kirstie left for home with Gigi while I made my way to the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

I work at the ACA as a preparator, but this Artwalk day I was also representing as one of the artists in the exhibition Lost and Found: Louisiana’s Landscape Revisited. I showed up a little early to make sure that everything was running smoothly for the opening, which was to take place an hour after I arrived. Immediately, I was plunged into exhibition hell: one of the videos wasn’t working. A comedy of errors ensued involving frantic calls to the ACA’s curator who was out-of-town on business, another video artist who was too busy watching the Metropolitan Opera being broadcast in the Moncus Theatre, the receptionist and myself. Did I mention that technology generally gives me the hives? Fortunately, I managed to get the video running just in time for the opening.

Then a maelstrom of small talk, artspeak and cigarette breaks, punctuated by numerous warnings not to touch or walk on the art (for some reason the general public can’t get over its need to touch or manhandle art, which while inappropriate, is sort of a good thing in a weird way), overtook me. My wife arrived and had a conversation with a girl who was perplexed, if not slightly angered, by the art on display. She couldn’t comprehend why all this bizarre stuff was being lauded as “good art.” My wife asked her to point out the one piece that angered her the most. She pointed directly at my painting. When my wife told me this, I cheekily felt really pleased with my work. One mission accomplished … I guess!?! Leave it to this art critic to create the most inaccessible art on display!

After the opening, my wife and I went out for dinner Downtown. After that, we were stuck. We couldn’t return home because there was a parade between us and our front door. By that time, it was so cold, the last thing we wanted to do was attend another parade. We decided to cut through the neighborhood of Freetown and head to the other side of Lafayette for some coffee and pastry. It was on our way back that I remembered that the artists of the Warehouse on Garfield Street were holding a post-Artwalk exhibition.

When we arrived, the Warehouse was already buzzing and the activity there only increased as the night wore on.  Yet, the experience of the venue, the art, the artists and the patrons was lightyears away from the Acadiana Center for the Arts. The Warehouse always feels intimate and comfortable. There’s a certain amount of ease that goes along with viewing work there. As I write this, I have to laugh about this amazing quality that the Warehouse has because while we were there, we witnessed a protracted relationship meltdown, a guy who shouldn’t have been hitting on my wife hit on wife, and every time I wanted to talk to one of the artists exhibiting, they were either MIA or involved in long conversations with others. I mention ALL of the above to illustrate a point made in one of my favorite pieces at the Warehouse: “C’est une Valse” by Lucius Fontenot.

The title of Fontenot’s conceptual/digital photograph translates to “It’s a Waltz.” Yeah, life is a waltz … a fast and fleeting waltz with many partners and a lot of ups and downs. Fontenot manages to capture this poetic concept with exceptional economy. His viewers are given a glimpse of the tops of trees with the statement itself hovering over them like a lonely cloud passing through the photograph’s blue sky. Writers kill for this kind of simplicity and eloquence when trying to convey something so complex and ironic, yet full of gravitas. With “C’est une Valse,” Fontenot proves that, with nothing more than a few clicks of a camera and a mouse, truly profound and nourishing art can be achieved.  What is interesting is that Fontenot’s piece is not very far off visually from the work of famed Pop/Conceptual artist Ed Ruscha. Yet, the feel of Fontenot’s piece is qualitatively different. Whereas Ruscha’s work generally exudes a sense of Southern Californian, apocalyptic anxiety and self-reflexive cleverness, Fontenot’s piece seems light and at ease with the fleetingness of life. It’s got “joi de vivre” – a thoroughly French/Cajun concept which, in my opinion, is much needed at this juncture in our civilization.

The other highlight of the evening for me was viewing the work of Brett Chigoy, who has been spending the better part of the past year recalibrating his artistic practice and crafting intricate images with leather, dyes and gold leaf. Chigoy’s images have always been indebted to the technique of pastiche, whether of the Dada, Surrealist or Postmodern variety. Chigoy’s interest in combining disparate images into one work continues with his current oeuvre; however, his image choices and the nature of his new media reach back to more unified and Romantic ideals somewhere between 19th century paintings of the Wild West, late 19th and early 2Oth century photographs, Art Nouveau, Greek Antiquity and early American leather crafts.  Due to this mix, Chigoy’s new body of work downplays irony in favor of a rooted investigation of history, myth and place that still reads as contemporary art. Fire and Brimstone is an excellent case in point. Chigoy renders a pair of musicians (probably based on photographs from the turn of the last century) before a lusty red harlequin’s pattern and surrounded by stylized flowers and foliage that evoke Corinthian columns, Art Nouveau decoration and the designs one may find on a Western-style leather belt. Plus, the fiery image and the title of the piece meld and hark back to enduring myths of musicians being associated with the darker aspects of life. The relief Chigoy achieves with the expertly tooled leather of the piece provides a sense of shared and unified space. Fire and Brimstone and the three other pieces Chigoy displayed make a strong case for a return to craft practices and a renewed dialogue with history in contemporary art.

Sculptor/painter Christopher Labauve offered some interesting work on Artwalk night. The most successful of which were his “broken” paintings, all of which were untitled. With these works, Labauve treats the black frames of these as visual “containers” for the ink paintings inside them.The frames seem broken in various way, “allowing” for the paintings they “contain” to “leak” out of the frames. All of the quotations above hint at somewhat of a weakness in these pieces: while clever, they only depict brokenness and leakage, rather than fully engaging in these processes. As such, they operate as mere jokes on the conventions of painting. In terms of painting fusing with sculpture and the concept of brokenness, I would urge Labauve and the reader to seek out the works of Angela de la Cruz who manages to engage these ideas fully by allowing her work to literally embody these concepts. Jim Lambie is yet another contemporary artist to which I would refer Labauve and the reader as he has been know to create works that employ actual leakage, rather than simple depictions of it. These recommendations aren’t meant as a critical attack on Labauve’s work as much as a gentle nudge of encouragement because the territory he’s exploring is extremely engaging and fertile.

The rest of the fare on display at the warehouse had its own merits. Camille Banuchi’s gilded paintings operated as dreamy fusions of religious iconcography and landscapes. Amanda Holt Robichaux’s “Approaching the Horizon” continued her experimentation between abstraction and depictions of the human form. Rocky Perkins provided somewhat of a Gerhard Richter moment in the exhibition, displaying a Photorealist painting of the World Trade Center beside an abstract painting. Gabrielle Savoy displayed a handful of delicate and surreal multi-media works that had the air of storybook illustrations, and Pilar Z. McCracken offered a vertical column of playful prints that seemed to mimic photobooth pics.

True to form, the artists of the Warehouse on Garfield were all over the “dance floor”, exploring their own idiosyncratic sensibilities. Moving from one artist’s space in the main hall to another required a constant shift in perspective, but it was worth it.  In the end, I felt satisfied.  In a couple of instances, I was left looking forward to the next waltz.

Reggie Michael Rodrigue

Kevin Beasley in “Revolution No. 63” at Parish Ink

Kevin Beasley

All images titled “Untitled” from the “Out of Place” series

digital prints on foam core

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.

Dawn DeDeaux in “Prospect Lafayette”

Dawn DeDeaux

“Same Place, Different Time”

photographs on reflective foil

2008

on view in the satellite exhibition “Prospect Lafayette” at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, LA until January 29, 2012 as a part of the Prospect New Orleans 2 Biennial.

*** Author”s note: To view a review of “Prospect Lafayette” on this site, click here.

 

Jonathan Hicks in “Prospect Lafayette”

Jonathan Hicks

Left to Right:

“Green Tie (after Longo)”

archival ink pigment on select matte paper

edition of three

2009

“Red Tie (after Longo)”

archival ink pigment on select matte paper

edition of three

2009

“Black Tie (after Longo)”

archival ink pigment on select matte paper

edition of three

2009

on view in the satellite exhibition “Prospect Lafayette” at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, LA until January 29, 2012 as a part of the Prospect New Orleans 2 Biennial.

*** Author”s note: To view a review of “Prospect Lafayette” on this site, click here.