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Art BEYOND Arts’ Sake

Art BEYOND Arts’ Sake

Callan Contemporary featuring Raine Bedsole exhibition

ARTS DISTRICT NEW ORLEANS ANNOUNCES “Art BEYOND Arts’ Sake” Member Galleries in the Arts District New Orleans are looking Beyond Arts’ Sake to raise

money for various local non-profits during the month of October.

NEW ORLEANS, LA (24 September 2020) – Arts District New Orleans (ADNO) is proud to announce Art Beyond Arts’ Sake, a charitable re-imagining of the annual Art for Arts’ Sake event. Art for Arts’ Sake traditionally kicks off the art collecting season, where each gallery puts its best foot forward with exciting new exhibitions and opens their doors to the community for a night of art appreciation

WHITE LINEN LIGHT

WHITE LINEN LIGHT

Callan Contemporary FEATURING Bradley Sabin EXHIBITION

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Arts District New Orleans (ADNO), the organization that founded the popular White Linen Night event, is hosting White Linen Light through the month of August. The event will take place both physically in the New Orleans’ historic Warehouse Arts District and online. The 14 contemporary art galleries and various eateries, which compose the Arts District, have safely reopened and look forward to welcoming guests back in to visit and view their current exhibitions at a safe distance. Guests are strongly encouraged to don their white linen while strolling down Julia St. to keep the spirit of White Linen Night alive.

 

George Dunbar painting acquired for the collection of the WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

George Dunbar painting acquired for the collection of the WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

Callan Contemporary congratulates George Dunbar on the acquisition of his painting "Action Painting" c.1950-5 into the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art 
Book Publication: David Borgerding - essay by Richard Speer

Book Publication: David Borgerding - essay by Richard Speer

Callan Contemporary is pleased to announce the release of a 180-page publication on the development of David Borgerding's artistic career. 
Book signing: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 
Please, contact the gallery for further information. 

 

Book Publication: George Dunbar essay by Richard Speer

Book Publication: George Dunbar essay by Richard Speer

Callan Contemporary is pleased to announce the release of a 250-page publication on the life and work of George Dunbar. 

"Review: Raine Bedsole explores spirit Vessels in 'Passage' The Gambit

"Review: Raine Bedsole explores spirit Vessels in 'Passage' The Gambit

Oct 15, 2018 - 12:00 pm 

BY D. ERIC BOOKHARDT 

“Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water... only drowning men could see him.” So opined Leonard Cohen in his epochal 1967 ballad “Suzanne.”

Similarly, the historical Buddha often is depicted serenely floating on a lotus flower. If spirituality is so closely linked with water, New Orleans may be the most spiritual city in America.

If that sounds far-fetched, this “Passage” expo at Callan Contemporary gallery extends Raine Bedsole's long exploration of spirit vessels that, like New Orleans itself, can seem magically suspended in a sea of humidity.

So what are we to make of this armada of welded bronze, copper and steel pirogues that float in space much the way deceased Egyptian pharaohs were envisioned sailing across the night sky in buoyant Nile barques? These are hardly uncharted waters for Bedsole, for whom these skeletal vessels have been a consistent theme, but each iteration reveals new facets of her ongoing investigation via new tidal currents of connections.

Here, the spindly crosshatching of “Lachesis” looks like a Native American canoe and suggests both the veinous expanses of banana tree leaves and the gossamer wings of vintage airplanes. Likewise, the swampy streamers dripping from the skeletal “Maia” suggest bejeweled root systems that blur the boundaries between the earth and the sea and a perspective beyond the all-consuming currents of techno-minutiae that the 21st century imposes upon us.

Indeed, contemporary techno-minutiae is just the latest version of a very old story that once was summarized succinctly by a late lawyer friend of mine: “Life is a hustle.”

But, as the Buddha, Jesus, Taoist sages and saints of all stripes might agree, just beyond the latest hustle is a chill space where the connectivity exceeds whatever is available on your smartphone. Those broader and more supportive currents are silently yet resonantly conveyed in Bedsole's “Philosophers I-IV” (pictured), as the Buddhas seem to float on lotus petals amid climbing vines in a realm where addictive algorithms melt into the oceanic currents of the cosmos.

Or as Bedsole says, “When I have dreams of flying, I am always in a boat.” 

Jammin' on Julia

Jammin' on Julia

May 5th, 2018 6-9PM

Callan Contemporary is excited to be participating in Jammin’ on Julia, an annual festival benefiting the non-profit, Arts District New Orleans. Callan Contemporary will be hosting its opening reception for its new exhibition, John Henry's Constructivist Dialogue. 

The non-profit organization has been diligently 'rebranding' and expanding over the past year to become a nationally recognized contemporary fine arts, food and performance destination in a compact, coherent architecturally distinctive historic district. 

"Promise and Perception: The Enchanting Landscapes of Sibylle Peretti" Solo Exhibition at the Chrysler Museum of Art

"Promise and Perception: The Enchanting Landscapes of Sibylle Peretti" Solo Exhibition at the Chrysler Museum of Art

March 15, 2018

SOLO EXHIBITION 

March 15th - September 19th, 2018 

Sibylle Peretti was born in Germany where the rich tradition of glassmaking influenced the direction of her artistic training and the abundant Bavarian forests inspired her choice of landscape as a predominant theme in her work. Using two-dimensional kiln-formed panels and three-dimensional lost-wax castings, Peretti composes narratives about the beautiful and poetic yet disrupted relationship between humans and the natural world. She invites us into her dream-like world to observe a child playing on the river bank or a sleeping fox as they exist in their enchanted landscapes. Here in these magical environments, we can contemplate our connection to nature and perhaps will uncover the secrets of coexistence.

"The Last Southern Gentleman"

"The Last Southern Gentleman"

March 9th 2018

article on George Dunbar by Folwell Dunbar VIA NOLA VIE 

My father, George Dunbar, was born in New Orleans in 1927, the year of the Great Mississippi Flood, and he grew up in the Garden District during the Great Depression. After high school, he joined the navy and served in the South Pacific. When he returned from the war, his father, a respected lawyer who had started a successful firm, tried to convince him to join the family business. Instead, my father used the G.I. Bill to attend art school in Philadelphia. He wanted to pursue his own dreams and his own passions.

"Review: Sibylle Peretti:It Was Such A Beautiful Promise"

"Review: Sibylle Peretti:It Was Such A Beautiful Promise"

Enigmatic Narratives
By Kathy Rodriguez
"Review: José-María Cundín The Supreme Leader and Other Ponderables" The Gambit

"Review: José-María Cundín The Supreme Leader and Other Ponderables" The Gambit

October 17th, 2017

By, Eric Bookhardt via bestofneworleans.com

What's with all those weirdly wavy Spanish paintings? Rounded forms can be alluring, but only Spanish artists have made them as immortal as Picasso's curvy, convoluted concoctions or Joan Miro's mysterious blobby squiggles — and only Fernando Botero could get away with a tubby, chubby Christ in crucifixion scenes.

"Review:Seeing Things: Doyle Gertjejansen at Callan Contemporary"

"Review:Seeing Things: Doyle Gertjejansen at Callan Contemporary"

By Majorie Rawle

September 25th, 2017

"Review: Major Side-Eye: Shawne Major at the Isaac Delgado Fine Arts Gallery"

"Review: Major Side-Eye: Shawne Major at the Isaac Delgado Fine Arts Gallery"

By Taylor Murrow

September 19th, 2017

"Review: Doyle Gertjejansen's floating world in Faith and Reason II"

"Review: Doyle Gertjejansen's floating world in Faith and Reason II"

By Eric Bookhardt

August 14, 2017

"A Modern Art Pioneer Down in New Orleans:An 89-year-old maverick reflects on the life and community he built down South," The New York Times, T Magazine

"A Modern Art Pioneer Down in New Orleans:An 89-year-old maverick reflects on the life and community he built down South," The New York Times, T Magazine

by Sara Ruffin Costello

June 5th, 2017

photo credit: Paul Costello

"Review: Sibylle Peretti's It Was A Beautiful Promise at Callan Contemporary" Gambit

"Review: Sibylle Peretti's It Was A Beautiful Promise at Callan Contemporary" Gambit

by Eric Bookhardt

June 4th 2017

"Review: Sibylle Peretti's It Was A Beautiful Promise" The Urban Glass Quarterly

"Review: Sibylle Peretti's It Was A Beautiful Promise" The Urban Glass Quarterly

by Hailey Clark

April 25th, 2017

New Orleans Museum of Art Exhibition George Dunbar: A Retrospective

New Orleans Museum of Art Exhibition George Dunbar: A Retrospective

November 3rd, 2016 - February 19th, 2017

This exhibition surveys the career of George Dunbar (American, born 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South.

George Dunbar: A Retrospective surveys the career of George Dunbar (American, born 1927), who played a pivotal role in introducing abstract art to the South. A New Orleans native, Dunbar studied in Philadelphia and Paris before returning to Louisiana in the 1950s to create paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and prints that marry the stark geometry of modern art with the lush, organic materials that evoke the state’s many swamps and bayous.

Dunbar’s richly textured works explore abstract art’s connection to landscape and place. George Dunbar: A Retrospective examines the evolution of Dunbar’s art from the 1950s, when he participated in a joint exhibition in Philadelphia with American abstract painter Franz Kline, to his most recent body of work in clay relief. The exhibition examines how Dunbar’s observations—as a bridge-builder, landscape architect, and urban planner—inform his unique approach to abstract art, and underscores Louisiana’s role within a more expansive story of 20th-century American art.

George Dunbar: A Retrospective also considers the rise of abstract art in New Orleans, featuring Louisiana modern artists who Dunbar influenced and inspired as well as works by internationally acclaimed American artists like Franz Kline and Mark Rothko, with whom Dunbar worked and studied. The exhibition will be accompanied by a limited-edition publication created in collaboration with George Dunbar, containing an in-depth interview with the artist and an essay that contextualizes his work within the history of 20th-century American art. NOMA also will create and present a documentary highlighting Dunbar’s body of work, creative influence, and artistic legacy.

"Review: James Flynn's Quantum Noûs at Callan Contemporary" Gambit

"Review: James Flynn's Quantum Noûs at Callan Contemporary" Gambit

Quantum physics visualized as psychedelic art

by D. Eric Bookhardt

What does the Mississippi River have to do with quantum physics? That is a deep question. Neither is easy to fathom, but the easy answer has to be James Flynn. A former river pilot-turned-painter, Flynn's years spent deciphering the Big Muddy's inscrutable currents probably made it easier for him to relate to the physicists who spent decades investigating the elusive patterns of protons and particles on which quantum theory was based. In his paintings, the vortexes at the heart of quantum physics are dramatically represented in complex canvases that build on the 20th-century Op art legacies of Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while hinting at the peculiar visual parallels that quantum physics shares with the mind bending visual puzzles and black-light posters of the psychedelic 1960s.

In fact, graphical representations of the elusive Higgs boson particle that validated quantum theory at the Hadron particle collider in 2012 can look weirdly like the psychedelic patterns popular with the LSD generation as we see in Flynn's Eigenstate V Ultraviolet (pictured). Albert Einstein's quantum breakthrough occurred when he discovered that electromagnetic waves also could resemble particles, and Flynn's vividly luminous Pierrot and Harlequin at the Pareidolic Masked Ball celebrates that playful shape-shifting quality by relating it to the popular clown characters featured in the comical masked theater performances of 17th-century Europe. But the cultural history of shape shifting really dates back thousands of years to the esoteric Asian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism in which deities, like those of the classical Greeks, could assume various guises even while representing aspects of ancient wisdom — a sensibility embodied in the undulating interwoven geometry of Flynn's Heart Sutra — Form is Void and Void is Form. If that sounds confusing, it is really not all that different from the versatile digital technologies we take for granted every time we pick up a smartphone. Flynn just illustrates, brilliantly and vividly, the reasons why nothing ever is entirely what it seems.

Whitney White Linen Night 2016 New Orleans' biggest art outing, Aug. 6

Whitney White Linen Night 2016 New Orleans' biggest art outing, Aug. 6

By Doug MacCash, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

on July 06, 2016 at 1:15 PM, updated July 07, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Whitney White Linen Night, the annual August block party in the Warehouse District, is so popular you could call it The New Orleans Visual Art Festival. Based on police department estimates, the elegant crowd, which is customarily decked out in summer white, routinely reaches 40,000. 

James Kennedy Exhibition, "Shape-Shifting"

James Kennedy Exhibition, "Shape-Shifting"

JOHN HARTELL GALLERY I SIBLEY HALL I  CORNELL UNIVERSITY

These paintings address a fascination with essential structures and arrangements,

whilst exploring the linguistics of music, mathematics, dance and architecture. Pattern recognition and manipulation are common themes, and involve the resolution of space within my own abstract vocabulary,in essence, solving spatial equations through paint. There are no premeditated maps prior to approaching a new work. The color merge and blending techniques carried from my earlier landscape series assist me in creating the tonal space my “systems” will eventually inhabit.It is the serendipitous convergence of space, color, and the lines that dissect them that form the core structure of the work.

JAMES KENNEDY

Pablo Atchugarry Exhibition, "Città Eterna, Eterni Marmi"

Pablo Atchugarry Exhibition, "Città Eterna, Eterni Marmi"

EXHIBITION " ETERNAL CITY , ETERNAL MARBLES " - ROME

From 22 May 2015 to 7 February 2016, the Museo dei Fori Imperiali – Mercati di Traiano in Rome will play host to the exhibition “Pablo Atchugarry. Eternal City, eternal marbles”, an important retrospective of the work of the Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, promoted by the Department of Culture and Tourism in Rome, the Capitoline Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the IILA (Italo-Latin American Institute) and the Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, with the sponsorship of the Embassy of Uruguay in Italy. Visual and museum services organised by Zètema Progetto Cultura.

"What’s going on in George Dunbar’s new work?", The New Orleans Advocate

"What’s going on in George Dunbar’s new work?", The New Orleans Advocate

By John D'Addario

November 18, 2015

If any visual artist in New Orleans has earned the title of “living legend,” it’s George Dunbar.

In a career spanning over 60 years, Dunbar has seen his work become the subject of two solo shows at the New Orleans Museum of Art, and it’s been added to the permanent collections of major institutions including NOMA, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the British Museum. And in 2008, he received a prestigious Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime contributions to art and culture in his home state of Louisiana.

Bradley Sabin featured in Architectural Digest October 2015

Bradley Sabin featured in Architectural Digest October 2015

October 2015

PETAL PUSHER

In the subtropical climate of New Orleans, flowers don't just grow, they practically explode, cascading over French Quarter balconies and scrambling up Garden District fences.  That lush scenerey inspires local ceramist Bradley Sabin, who conjures blossoms of his own sweeping wall installations. "I'm constantly surprised by what I see in nature," he says.  Working in his home studio, Sabin individually sculpts and glazes each of the clay blooms - as many as 1,400 for a single project - that make up his teeming displays.  But the fun really begins when he arrives at a client's home and maps out the pattern in which the blossoms (each one screwed separately into the wall) will be arranged.  "Placing the flowers almost feels like I'm drawing," says the artist, whose work has caught the eye of decorators and collectors alike.  On October 8 his latest botanical beauties go on view in New York City, at the Voltz Clarke gallery's new Upper East Side location (voltzclarke.com), promising the space a fabulously fresh start. - Jacqueline Terrebone

Raine Bedsole: You Are the River - Mobile Museum of Art

Raine Bedsole: You Are the River - Mobile Museum of Art

November 2015 through October 2016

MOBILE, Ala., Oct. 7, 2015 – New Orleans-based artist Raine Bedsole returns to her hometown November 13, with a new site-specific installation for the Mobile Museum of Art.

Louisiana Contemporary features four artists represented by Callan Contemporary

Louisiana Contemporary features four artists represented by Callan Contemporary

Callan Contemporary would like to congratulate

David Borgerding
Norah Lovell
Karoline Schleh
Keith Perelli 

on their acceptance into Louisiana Contemporary Preseneted by Regions Bank at the Ogden Musuem of Southern Art.

"Local Artist's Sculpture Installed on Poydras Street," Nola.com|Times-Picayune

"Local Artist's Sculpture Installed on Poydras Street," Nola.com|Times-Picayune

June 17, 2015

Today David Borgerding, an artist working in New Orleans, installed "VOLPANG," his immense fabricated/forged silicon bronze sculpture that now stands on Poydras Street, between O'Keefe Avenue and Penn Street. "VOLPANG" was dropped by a crane and installed as part of the Poydras Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation. Other pieces in the collection include Lin Emery's "Octet" installed on Poydras between St. Charles Ave. and Camp St., James Surls' "Me, Knife, Diamond and Flower," which currently sits outside the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Surls' "Standing Vase with Five Flowers," and Enrique Alferez's "Gymnast," both of which are already displayed on Poydras.

Borgerding, an artist born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and now living in New Orleans, creates monumental, abstract bronzes and stainless steel sculptures that exist in public spaces and private collections throughout the south.

By Caitlin Faw

"Image Universe: Norah Lovell on The Battle of New Orleans Part 1," Pelican Bomb

"Image Universe: Norah Lovell on The Battle of New Orleans Part 1," Pelican Bomb

April 27, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE

Introducing a special three-part edition of "Image Universe" with local artist Norah Lovell. Lovell shares with us three paintings from her current exhibition at Callan Contemporary and the source materials that inspired them. The exhibition, “Reconnaissance: Battle of New Orleans,” features ten large-scale paintings conceived after meticulous research and collaging. The paintings bring to light the work of muralist, Ethel Magafan, while calling on a host of other images relating to war, the natural world, and the insular domestic spaces of aristocratic women.

Margaret Evangeline: On War, Museum Show at the LSU Museum of Art

Margaret Evangeline: On War, Museum Show at the LSU Museum of Art

March 13 - August 2, 2015

From March 13-August 2, 2015, the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, LA presents Margaret Evangeline: On War. This retrospective exhibition of Baton Rouge native Margaret Evangeline examines the nature of modern war and violence through the artist’s provocative paintings, mixed media and installation works. Evangeline’s art explores the causes and effects of modern combat, and reflects the capacity of art to represent and respond to war. Her art is often itself made using the tools of war, her paintings and installations produced through gunshots and punctured by bullet holes so that they embody the very violence she seeks to critique.

Margaret Evangeline: On War brings together for the first time Evangeline’s paintings and her evocative mixed media and installation work to tell the full story of her art. The exhibition will include recent paintings, such as the artist’s Lines of Communication, which considers the way in which our distance from sites of violence impact our thinking about conflict in places like Iraq. The exhibition will also include earlier works in stainless steel completed during Evangeline’s first forays into using guns as art-making tools. Alongside these paintings, the exhibition features works from Evangeline’s recent Sabachthani series, a set of sculptures created in collaboration with her son, an Air Force lieutenant colonel then stationed in Iraq, as well as other active duty soldiers serving alongside him.

Evangeline describes her signature bullet marked canvases and gunshot markings on stainless steel and as “painting without paint.” These personal and emotionally charged works meditate on the use of force in human affairs, evoking Simone Weil’s 1940 concept of a “poem of force.” Her art comments upon current conflicts and wars, but also engages with a much longer history of war and violence throughout the world. Sabachthani, for instance, utilizes iconic press images of historic events during the turbulent 1960s alongside more recent material from the Iraq War, and concludes with a list of all of the recorded wars fought by man, beginning with the first, The Conquest of Sumner, which took place in what is now Iraq, and ending with the most recent war in Afghanistan.

Evangeline’s art challenges a common perception among Americans that war is something that happens far away, to someone else. Her art is that of a mother whose family has been directly impacted by war, as well as that of an artist with an incisive ability to bring war home. At a time when world events demand that we turn our attention to public policy and foreign affairs, Margaret Evangeline poses an ambitious question: can we stop long enough to meditate on the more personal impact—and lasting effects—of war and violence?

Margaret Evangeline: On War is curated by Dr. Katie A. Pfohl, and organized by the LSU Museum of Art.

"Review: Shawne Major at Callan Contemporary", New Orleans Art Insider

"Review: Shawne Major at Callan Contemporary", New Orleans Art Insider

By D. Eric Bookhardt

January 11th, 2015

When Hew Locke, a British artist from the culturally Caribbean nation of Guyana in South America, first came to New Orleans to install his carnival-inspired work in Prospect.3, he didn't expect to feel at home here. He had heard about our carnival but didn't think a North American Mardi Gras could rival the Caribbean-style festivities of his native land. But when he saw all the beads dangling from trees all over town, he changed his mind and realized that our Mardi Gras must be the real deal after all. That same giddy, anarchic energy that we associate with random clusters of carnival beads also defines Shawne Major's densely abstract tapestries cobbled from beads, buttons, baubles and trinkets stitched together into very precise yet random looking wall hangings. They resonate a certain vibratory contrast because even though abstraction has historically been associated with some of the most serious art and artists--and Major comes across as quite serious herself--her mixed media wall hangings are crafted from some of the most ephemeral objects in popular culture. So even though the New Iberia native's works are not explicitly about carnival, the parallels are so pronounced that they provide a sense of what abstract art might have looked like had it originated in south Louisiana.

"Review: Raine Bedsole at Callan Contemporary", New Orleans Art Insider

"Review: Raine Bedsole at Callan Contemporary", New Orleans Art Insider

October 5th, 2014

"To disappear into deep water or to disappear toward a far horizon, to be part of the depth of infinity, such is the destiny of man that finds its image in the destiny of water." So said Gaston Bachelard, that most poetic of French philosophers. His words may be taken literally--as some Miami residents whose streets now flood at high tide found out--or figuratively, as his book title, Water and Dreams, implies. Longtime Nola resident and coastal Alabama native Raine Bedsole is no stranger to flooding, but her water-inspired sculptures suggest vessels that connect the seas of primordial memory with the tides of the imagination. Life began in ancient seas and our bodies are mostly water, but civilization was our response to the elements, and therein lies a paradox, a puzzle for engineers and poets.

Norah Lovell (Dis)Comfort Zones: ArtPrize at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Norah Lovell (Dis)Comfort Zones: ArtPrize at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

September 24th - October 12th, 2014

Earth and Element: The Art of George Dunbar at The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Earth and Element: The Art of George Dunbar at The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Exhibition on view until August 30th, 2014

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIRTUAL TOUR

Earth and Element—these two important features have had a direct impact on the life of George Dunbar and the creative realm in which he exists. Earth, which he has manipulated throughout his career as a real estate developer and his life as an artist, is meticulously moved, gouged, built up and pushed away to create works in which both the abstract and the precise exist. The natural earthly environment, including the marshes of his beloved North Shore, have had a dramatic impact on his approach as well, whether seen through his Marshgrass Series, or Katrina—these environs help to shape a portion of the psyche seen in Dunbar’s work. Element, as seen in the metallic gold leaf that he has utilized in several series—including Coin du Lestin, Rouville, and Bonfouca—has also been at the forefront of his artistic life. Intricate and beautiful layers of metallic and gold leaf, meticulously applied to the clay, are oftentimes gouged and burnished to expose their raw and elemental forms. These dichotomies are examined in Earth and Element: The Art of George Dunbar.

Dunbar emerged in the late 1950s as one of the preeminent contemporary artists working in the Deep South. While traditionally trained as a painter, he initially focused in the realm of action painting as his context. His passion and desire to work as an artist allowed every aspect of his life to inform his work, moving both his life and his art through many turns and going down unseen paths. On meeting George for the first time, I was soon to discover why his career has pursued these many roads. Dunbar’s intellectual curiosity and pursuit of brilliance has not subsided. It is clear that this quest for knowledge and the lifelong hunt for virtuosity has been the driving force throughout his career and is to be celebrated in this important exhibition for which the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is most proud to present.

Lance S. Harris
Interim Director

Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum University of Louisiana at Lafayette

"Review: Qualia: Geometric Paintings by James Flynn," Gambit

"Review: Qualia: Geometric Paintings by James Flynn," Gambit

June 23, 2014

By D. Eric Bookhardt on a new show at Callan Contemporary.

William Blake once opined that it is possible to "see a World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/ And Eternity in an hour ..." In his poem, "Auguries of Innocence," he harked to the sages of antiquity, who saw the repeating patterns of the natural world as a kind of sacred geometry that contained the secrets of the universe. But Blake's contemporaries often were more likely to see the natural world as fodder for smoke-belching factories. In more recent times, physicists have rediscovered that nature's geometric patterning actually does contain the secrets of the universe after all, and that ongoing counterpoint between technology and metaphysics is reflected in James Flynn's seamlessly pristine yet near-hallucinatory paintings.

Comprising intricate, symmetrically patterned lines rendered in richly hued pigments, they range from austerely minimal compositions to dazzling visual puzzles that trick the eye into seeing luminous depth where only flat surfaces exist. Consequently, they often resemble holograms that change in color and form when viewed from different angles.

Olam Atzilut (a Kabbalist term for emanation) is an arrangement of concentric circles that suggests a shimmering bull's-eye rendered in burnished brass but actually is just a painted panel. Concentric circles become even more illusionistic in Syzygy (a celestial navigation term for alignment), where their overlapping forms seem to shimmer like a virtual reality rendition of a soap bubble floating in space. Flynn's most visionary work, The Pareidolic Dream of the Lion, (pictured) makes extensive use of obsessively painted moire patterns deployed as a kind of Rorschach test that turns the viewer's gaze inward. The need to make sense of ambiguity causes the subjective nature of our imagination and preoccupations to influence how we interpret what we see (as the term "pareidolic" suggests). In this uniquely surprising exhibition, Flynn takes us to the far horizons of perception, returning us to that sublime metaphysical realm where art, science and magic are united and cohesive once again.

"Review: I Search in Snow," Gambit

"Review: I Search in Snow," Gambit

April 14, 2014

D. Eric Bookhardt on new sculpture by Sibylle Peretti at Callan Contemporary.

The mysterious figurative glass sculptures in Sibylle Peretti's I Search in Snow expo at Callan Contemporary feature young children who seem far removed from the playfully animated kids we normally encounter. As otherworldly as creatures in myths and fairy tales, Peretti's children exist in dreamlike settings they share with sinuous plants and small animals. Deftly rendered in a pale, soft palette of translucent white and magenta kiln-formed glass, they evoke the fantastical inner life we experienced when we were very young, or perhaps the echoes of that magically boundless time that may reappear in our dreams. For Peretti, childhood and dreams are part of nature, and her work has long been inspired by the legends of "feral children" who lived outside human society, a phenomenon that melds modern notions of alienation and the traditional nature mysticism of Peretti's native Germany. Whatever the reason, her kids have the trancelike quality associated with hermits who communicate with wild animals, as we see in To Know a Hawk, where a near-catatonic boy exchanges meaningful gazes with a hawk while other birds seem to cluster on his chest and shoulders.

In Snowchild (pictured), a young girl sleeps as hawks gather around her, and here the child is inseparable from the wild world. Both works are crafted from white kiln-forged glass that looks almost like Carrera marble, giving them a classical aura that contrasts with their psychological vibe. In the wall pieces, children often appear connected to each other by sinuous magenta vines or silver branches, visual effects that reach their most elaborate fruition in her magical bell jar series. In White Hawk 3, two hawks appear under a grapelike cluster of icy clear glass, and only from certain angles can a child's face be seen in the dome's mirrored rear surfaces. In these and other works, Peretti's children suggest near-mythical creatures whose profound silences enable connections with wild nature and its equivalents in the deep recesses of the poetic imagination.

Margaret Evangeline: Sabachthani Museum Show at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Margaret Evangeline: Sabachthani Museum Show at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

January 17 through March 30, 2014

New York–based, Louisiana-born artist Margaret Evangeline (b. 1943) is known for her experimentation with aesthetically resistant material and an expanded painting practice that uses gunshots to transform polished stainless steel panels. The resultant marks—appearing simultaneously as scars and embellishments—break the continuity of these pristine minimalist forms. The fourteen powder-coated aluminum bars assembled in Evangeline’s series of wall sculptures Sabachthani were shot through with 5.56mm M4 rifles and 9mm Beretta M9 pistols at Joint Base Balad in Iraq. These were not the randomly fired shots found in war-torn pockets of the globe; instead, they were staged by the artist. A tremendous beauty lies within these painted slabs that have been eviscerated by an irrevocably violent human action. The beauty isn't in the rupture but in the testimony these singular objects, now shot through, give to all of us who have experienced the shock of the impossibly fast transitions in our lives.

Evangeline’s recently completed permanent installation Glass Like a Memory, Steel Like a Valentine is located in Michigan State University’s Armstrong Hall.

Curated by Michael Rush, Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU

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