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. Varisco’s 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 down—between 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 images—people, birds, animals, aristocratic estates, old libraries, and landscapes elegantly tamed and gorgeously wild—crystallize an irretrievable past, both mysterious and unsettling. Her narratives are rooted in paradox: time and eternity; past and present; masculine and feminine; desire and despair—the 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.
Source: Ogden Museum of Southern Art