Wednesday, July 16, 2014

UNO St. Claude Gallery Exhibits "Wet"

UNO Fine Arts alumni and students host "Wet" at the UNO St. Claude GalleryRecent graduates of the University of New Orleans, together with UNO students are showcasing their work this summer at the University's St. Claude Gallery and may form a new collective.

"We had known that the St. Claude Gallery had an opening where there wasn't anything booked for this month, put together a proposal and got approved. I'm not sure what's exactly next," said Peter Hoffman, a recent alumnus of the UNO Master of Fine Arts program and a member of the collective. "I think the idea is that we will continue to put on exhibitions together and we may or may not have an official group together."

In "WET," a group exhibition focused on liquid relief for one of our hotter months in the sweaty Crescent City, artists "demonstrate the damp in a wide variety of mediums and attitudes, from wishful-thinking pleasure-romps in the swamp to unrelenting evaporation under the buzz of a desperate air-conditioning unit," said Jason Childers, another recent graduate of the UNO Master of Fine Arts program.

The self-curated exhibition features work by current students and recent graduates from the University of New Orleans Fine Arts Department, said Childers. Exhibiting artists include Kevin Baer, Vanessa Centeno, Jason Christopher Childers, Valerie Corradetti, Robyn Denny, David Hassell, Peter Hoffman, Sylvia Santamaria, Natalie Tobacyk, Bradford Willingham, and Ryn Wilson. Works will include photography, video, installation, drawings, sculpture, and painting.

"The term wet can be applied broadly to everything in the show. There's goofy stuff and more serious topics," said Hoffman, who created a work that mimics The Bathers, a famous oil painting created in 1765 by Rococo artist Jean Honore Fragonard.

Hoffman's self-described "goofy" painting is a "a wishful thinking pleasure romp in the swamp, which is what that painting looked like to me," he said. "There's a bunch of classical bathers, they're kind of tumbling and they're playing around in lush vegetation and spring and it's fairly absurd."

On a more serious note, fellow artist Sylvia Santamaria "did colored pencil drawings of aquatic animals, so she's got horseshoe crabs on beautiful surfaces but then she attached clear resin to it so it looks like there are water spots on the drawings."

The group is still determining their next steps together but prospects are hopeful, said Hoffman, citing the talent and organizational skills of his peers.

"This collective idea, just the fact that we got it off the ground and made it happen and it all happened really quickly and we got a lot of positive feedback at the reception last week ... " he mused. "It's a success."


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