The Baton Rouge Gallery, 1515 Dalrymple Dr., will share the latest works from three of its artist members, including Amy James, Phyllis Lear and Kelly A. Mueller, June 3-28. The gallery will host a free “First Wednesday” Opening Reception on June 6 from 7-9 p.m. in honor of these new works.
During the exhibition, the BRG will treat visitors to James’ black and white look at the many colors of motherhood, Lear’s mixed media analogies between bird nests and chalices and Mueller’s textural look at emergent behaviors and daily routines.
These featured artist members will be available for June’s ARTiculate Artist Talk on Sunday, June 10 at 4 p.m. Patrons will have the opportunity to hear from the artists about the inspirations, techniques and processes behind the works featured in the gallery. As a part of BRG’s Sundays@4 series, all ARTiculate Artist Talks are free and open to the public.
With ‘Progeny,’ photographer Amy James turns her unique and insightful photographic eye to the familiar struggles of motherhood. A mother of two preparing to send her youngest to college, James finds herself reflecting on the blood, sweat and tears of raising her sons without a partner, the male/female dynamic of raising children of the opposite sex and the bonds that first began to form in-utero. With the photographs in this body of work, James also considers a new chapter for herself as a woman and as an artist. She finds herself contemplating the grieving that comes with letting them go and the fears she has had and still has for them both.
A Baton Rouge Gallery artist member since 2003, James’s shoots are primarily in black and white, using silver and film. She trained as a painter but was drawn to the darkroom upon learning it could create as much of a challenge as the empty canvas. She studied at LSU under Michael Crespo and Robert Hausey with her photography professor, Thomas Neff, being her greatest influence and mentor. She prefers to shoot while illuminating her subjects using only natural light and environments, a practice that helps capture the sitter as well as the viewer in her lens.
Phyllis Lear’s latest body of work, “Chalices,” grew out of the seemingly simple act of finding abandoned bird nests during winter walks. It occurred to the artist that bird nests were sacred, temporary vessels built up above the ground, holding a new generation. This led her to consider them as chalices, which are vessels held high during rituals. This inspired her to create – out of wire and papier-mache – figures that build on the tradition of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti as the stem for each chalice. The bird nests serve as the cup while incorporating her signature use of found objects, postage stamps, buttons, wire and string. Each chalice expresses a broad idea such as Offering, Meditation, Union, Madonna, etc.
Lear first joined the Baton Rouge Gallery artist membership in 2005, boasting a trio of master’s degrees from Louisiana State University, Northwestern State University of LA and Louisiana Tech University. Since then, she has exhibited her work in galleries across the southern United States while having her work included in private collections from Toronto to New Orleans. Each of Lear’s mixed media works tells a story related to her own life’s journey, stories that are somewhat ambiguous and invite interpretation and dialogue with the viewer.
Kelly A. Mueller
The concept of emergent behaviors, phenomena in which a group of singular entities create a more complex behavioral system as a collective, inspired Kelly A. Mueller’s sophomore BRG exhibition, “Murmur.” Her pattern-based and highly textural work weaves natural and biological phenomena and systems with remnants of our daily habits and routines. In addition to intricate ceiling-hung pieces and corresponding floor installations, other works in this exhibition see local newspapers, old discarded calendars, maps and bits of writing rise to the surface around solidly rendered objects and transparent layers of pattern and projected imagery.
Born and raised in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Mueller received her master’s degree in fine arts at Northern Illinois University in 2004. New American Paintings and Studio Visit magazines have featured her work and her teaching appointments include Millsaps College and Southeastern Louisiana University. After moving to New Orleans in 2006 for an extended residency at the Greater New Orleans Artist Mansion, Mueller became the Visual Arts Chair of the Certificate of Artistry program at Lusher Charter High School in New Orleans.
For more information on Baton Rouge Gallery or this exhibition, call 225-383-1470 or visit batonrougegallery.org.
The Decentralized Arts Funding Program supports the Baton Rouge Gallery, a BREC facility, in part by funds from the Louisiana State Arts Council and the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. The Community Fund for the Arts, WRKF, its Community Members and the late Paula Manship also support the gallery.