Monday, July 25, 2011

New Orleans Warehouse Arts District

I just got back from visiting my friends Ben and Liz in New Orleans. They moved there just this month and I was impressed with how well they were already navigating the city! On my third day there, we took a trip down to the warehouse arts district. We visited about five galleries and a great coffee shop/cafe. If you are visiting the area and want to see some great up and coming contemporary artists, make sure to get down to Julia Street.

The coffee shop/cafe we visited is called Carmo. They have a Brazilian/Carribean theme. I had a bowl of Edemame and Potato soup that was divine. Ben and Liz both enjoyed some fresh coffee. Check them out!

Here is some of my favorites from our art gallery tour:

The "Arthur Roger Gallery" was featuring works by James Barsness. Wow! These large scale paintings were the first pieces of art I had seen in a long time that floored me. Very impressive. I could have stared at them for hours. As always, you can never capture all of the beauty of a piece of artwork in a photo, and unfortunately this is especially so here. In person, the figures are covered with tiny iridescent dots that follow the natural curves and contours of the body. His work combines traditional religious iconography of the Renaissance and ancient India with a very modern color palette and use of line. He takes the usually serious topic of religious art and adds a sense of humor to it. One piece in the exhibit is titled Weight Loss Jesus. These cacophonous configurations have your eyes darting all over the canvas; yet you still feel a sense of relaxation by the time you walk away.

One piece (I believe it was Runaway Train) had a tiny, somewhat hidden, message at the bottom that read, "If you buy this painting I will donate the proceeds to Jesus Christ the very next time I see him." The piece below is titled Adam and Eve. For more images and information about the exhibit, visit their website (or better yet, visit the gallery).

"LeMieux Galleries" had a lot of art on display. In fact, the gallery seemed never ending with rooms and niches popping up around every turn and corner. My favorites here were the two featured artists. Christine Sauer created very intricate textile cluster constructions. Up close, you can see all of the tiny beads, strings, and layers of lush fabric that compose each circle. Shannon Landis Hansen created intricate mosaic sculptures, like the Red Chair below. There were even a couple of lamps, that were complete with lampshades that had collaged fabric and cutouts that mirrored the collaged mosaics of below. Her mosaics, which incorporate numerous fragments of ceramic figurines remind me of the laundry room wall in the 90's movie, How to make and American Quilt (if you have seen the movie, you know). Here is the link to the gallery website.

Last, but not least, is the "Heriard Cimino Gallery." There are two pieces here by Monica Zeringue. They are graphite drawn female figures, covered with hand-sewn Swarovski crystals. I'm not going to say much about the image, because I feel it speaks for itself! The website for this gallery is here. This piece is titled Glisten.

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