Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Five UNO Students, Alumni Selected to Compete in "Louisiana Contemporary"

austynmayersAustyn-Marie Mayers, a UNO junior and Fine Arts student, shows this black-and-white self-portrait next month in “Louisiana Contemporary” at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “I take great influence from Caravaggio and his use of chiaroscuro, light and dark,” said Mayers. “I generally like to place my subjects in a dark environment and strategically use light to pull parts of the subject out into the photograph, since a photograph can produce only the light exposed to the sensor. For me, working with light in this way holds a dramatic and emotional appeal.”

Five University of New Orleans fine arts students and alumni will show their work next month in Louisiana Contemporary, a statewide juried exhibition presented by Regions Bank at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Sesthasak Boonchai, Monica Zeringue, Sylvia Santamaria, Angel Perdomo and Austyn Meyers are among 60 artists presenting 114 works in the exhibition, said Sue Strachan, public relations director for the Ogden. Nearly 300 Louisiana artists submitted more than 970 works in hopes of being chosen to compete in the contest.

Award winners will be announced on Whitney White Linen Night, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. The exhibition will be on view at the Ogden, 925 Camp St., New Orleans, through Sept. 22, 2013.

The Ogden Museum launched Louisiana Contemporary last year in an effort "to engage a contemporary audience that appreciates the vibrant visual culture of Louisiana and the role of New Orleans as a rising, international art center," said Strachan.

"In its second year, Louisiana Contemporary continues to provide a space for artists who choose to live and work in the state of Louisiana," says William Andrews, director of the Ogden. "By bringing this community together, the Ogden Museum promotes dialogue between the artists and their audience, and promotes the concept of New Orleans as an international cultural center."

Andrews aims to include living artists as much as possible in museum activities, in an effort to enhance audience experience when viewing collected art of the region's history and culture, said Strachan.

Franklin Sirmans, the Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and artistic director of Prospect.3 New Orleans,  an international biennial art exhibition now in its fourth iteration, will serve as juror. Up to $3,000 in awards are at stake, including a $1,000 Best of Show cash award.

"Obviously, as artistic director of Prospect.3, opening October 2014, I am in a unique position as juror," says Sirmans. "There's no need for me to mention the depth and quality of work being made in Louisiana, as anyone who has spent time here can see, but really it is about the showcase the Ogden Museum has chosen to provide, present and support the state's native artists that rings so truthfully through this process. The first part of this process is over—and I have already seen via images so much interesting work — that I can't wait to see it all in person!"

"I think that the fact that our students and alumni are so well-represented in this exhibition attests to the strength of the studio programs we offer," said Kathy Rodriguez, fine arts instructor at the University of New Orleans. "Our students are making the art that communicates about New Orleans' role as an international art center. But, they're also making art that communicates about the wider, global swath of contemporary art issues."

The UNO artists are well-represented in the exhibit, said Rodriguez. Seth Boonchai (MFA 2001) has one work in the show; Austyn Mayers a current undergraduate student in studio art, has one; Angel Perdomo, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from UNO in May, has three; Sylvia Santamaria, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from UNO in 2012, has one, and Monica Zeringue (MFA 2006) has three.

"Being this juror's pick means that our students' work is recognized by an established art-world evaluator, intimately familiar with contemporary art," said Rodriguez.  "It proves that UNO-trained artists are continuing to make pertinent, powerful, and excellent contemporary artworks."

University of New Orleans Department of Fine Arts
Louisiana Contemporary 2013
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans