NEW ORLEANS, LA.-
The beauty and fragility of nature and the environment as interpreted in a variety of media are the focus of nine exhibitions that opened at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
last week. The exhibitions include: Shifting: Photographs by Michel Varisco; Sally Chandler: The Lost World; Mark Messersmith: Maximalist and Naturalist; Alexa Kleinbard: Remedies; Nell Campbell - Duck Blinds; Colleen Mullins: Elysium; Woody Woodroof: Field Work; CC Lockwood: Photographs from the Permanent Collection; and Lee Deigaard, Plastic Gulf (single channel video).
"The Ogden is pleased to present this robust array of exhibitions with such varied representations of place, identity, process, and material, says William Andrews, Director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Each of the artists tells a different version of our story, yet they all share some of the same enduring narrative that is central to the museum's mission."
Shifting: Photographs by Michel Varisco
Shifting is a photographic installation focusing on the Louisiana wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico. Often through aerial views, the artist explores both the beauty and degradation of this environment, and chronicles the dynamic changes that are both natural and man-made.
This body of work invites the audience to become invested in the fate of a threatened natural resource.
Michel Varisco is a native New Orleans artist. Her photographs, assemblages and site-specific installations explore loss and regeneration. She received her MFA from Tulane University and studied in France (LaCoste School of Art) and Italy (U.G.A) and is an artist/mentor at NOCCA|Riverfront in New Orleans. Variscos work is exhibited and published internationally and is included in public, private and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad.
Sally Chandler: The Lost World
In Sally Chandler's immersive installation, all borders are downbetween personal and universal, town and country, history and myth.
Including some 84 paintings and works on paper, The Lost World is a time capsule about a society on the edge. At once bracing and romantic, the exhibition enables viewers to journey through passages from innocence to experience. Chandler's tableaux of imagespeople, birds, animals, aristocratic estates, old libraries, and landscapes elegantly tamed and gorgeously wildcrystallize an irretrievable past, both mysterious and unsettling. Her narratives are rooted in paradox: time and eternity; past and present; masculine and feminine; desire and despairthe unstated intuitions and connections that bind people together. Probing large mysteries and themes, they make us feel the preciousness of what would be lost in an as yet unimaginable future.
The Lost World evokes our longing for stories, connections, and sense of place. The exhibition, organized by guest curator, Susie Kalil, dovetails with the New Orleans sense of tradition, ritual and preservation. Chandler has a bachelor of arts degree in history from Rutgers University, and has studied international relations at the London School of Economics, as well as art at the Instituto Allende in Mexico, the San Francisco Art Institute and the Glassell School of Art in Houston. Her work has been shown in exhibitions throughout the U.S.
Mark Messersmith: Maximalist and Naturalist
When Mark Messersmith first moved to Tallahassee, Fla., he was immediately struck by the wildness of the surrounding landscape, a wildness gone from much of America.
In Mark Messersmith: Maximalist and Naturalist, Messersmith continues his exploration of the tension between this wild, living place and ever-increasing human expansion. Drawing on inspirations ranging from the Pre-Raphaelites, Martin Johnson Heade, Southern folk art and medieval manuscripts, the paintings of Messersmith are dense, radiant, and sculptural depictions of the flora and fauna of northern Florida struggling to survive.
Mark Messersmith is Professor of Art at Florida State University, where he has taught since 1985. He received an MFA from Indiana University, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Ford Fellowship, four Individual Artist Fellowship Awards from the Florida Department of State, and a 2006 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting Award.
Alexa Kleinbard: Remedies
Remedies is an exhibition of shaped, oil-on-panel paintings by Tallahassee, Fla., artist Alexa Kleinbard. A self-taught painter, for more than 30 years Kleinbard has explored folk medicines, scientific advances, the environment and the unsettling role of humans in the balance of nature through her work. In this series of meticulously rendered and richly colored paintings, she has turned her focus to the wild medicinal plants of the Southeast and the endangered wetlands that sustain them. Sculptural portraits of these plants surround lush landscapes of their native environments, and seem to dance on gestural root systems.
Alexa Kleinbard has been the recipient of several awards, including two NEA Endowment Grants and a Florida Fellowship Grant from the Florida Arts Council. She received her BFA in Sculpture from the Philadelphia College of Art, and received training in Dance from the Melia Davis School of Dance and the Ramblerny School of Performing Arts. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States. She lives and works with her husband, artist Jim Roche, in Tallahassee, Fla. In 2011, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art exhibited highlights from their collection of self-taught, outsider and visionary art.
Nell Campbell - Duck Blinds: Louisiana
Louisiana showcases her photographs of duck blinds used by hunters on the waterways of Louisiana. Campbells images capture the uniqueness of these structures and comment on the paradoxical role hunting plays in the conservation of nature.
Colleen Mullins: Elysium
These photographs explore the destruction of New Orleans urban forest by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and how man further compounded the deforestation.
Woody Woodroof: Field Work
This exhibition combines his ventures in art and farming by producing cyanotype photograms from plants grown on, and around the land surrounding, Woodroofs organic farm in Maryland.
CC Lockwood: Photographs from the Permanent Collection
CC Lockwoods color photographs of the nature and wildlife of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast include the photograph, Flat Lake Sunset, which was selected by the U.S. Postal Service as the image for the official Louisiana Bicentennial commemorative stamp.
Lee Deigaard, Plastic Gulf (single channel video)
Artist's Statement: "After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, fishing lures collected dust on bait store shelves, and fishing boats around the region idled. Marine life choked in the oil-polluted water.
In 'Plastic Gulf,' the decoy becomes the protagonist. Fishing lures forage in a false plastic Eden of lush ocean reeds. Without real fish to unmask their imposture, their puppet-like movements simulate life.
In the Pacific Ocean there is a vast island of plastic garbage. Plastics are made from oil. Even before the oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico's dead zones were growing, fed by fertilizer runoff carried by the Mississippi River from industrial farms in the Midwest.
We place a lot of faith in the regenerative powers of the ocean. We want to believe we can restore what we ruin.
In the battle for conservation resources, fish have trouble engaging human sympathies. These plastic fish flirt with the viewer, resist being ignored."