Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to announce an exhibit of paintings entitled “Close Up,” by five Louisiana artists inspired by the transformed Gulf Coast landscape. Curated by New Orleans artist Allison Stewart, the artists include Raine Bedsole, Jacqueline Bishop, Kathleen Loe, Mary Jane Parker and Katharine White. Four of the artists were residents of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath devastated the city. The fifth is a native of south Louisiana and has moved back to New Orleans post-Katrina.
In August 2005 Hurricane Katrina stormed through the Louisiana Gulf Coast, destroying more than 200,000 homes and taking more than 1,700 lives in the nation’s worst natural disaster. Compoundedby the catastrophic failure of the manmade levee system, more than 80% of the city of New Orleans was flooded. In a single day the city was transformed into a chaotic and irrational floating world.
The artists in this exhibit call upon their experiences with the storm to express their thoughts about nature and its ultimate dominance over man. Jacqueline Bishop’s intimate paintings of animals in peril reference the unraveling of nature and man’s attempt to control natural processes. Bishop stayed in her home through the hurricane and witnessed a total breakdown of civil order in the storm’s aftermath.
Raine Bedsole uses boat imagery, while Mary Jane Parker employs organic forms as metaphors for time, passage and isolation. Kathleen Loe uses fragments of the coastal wetlands to address similar issues of decay and renewal and man’s interruption of the ebb and flow of the marshes.
Katharine White’s paintings capture the shimmering light and moisture saturated air along the Mississippi River, reminding us of the necessity of water for life as well as the power of water to destroy.
“Close Up” evolved as a result of a life changing experience with disaster. All of the artists directly or indirectly address the fragile nature of life and the tenuous balance of living below sea level in a region that is neither entirely water nor land, but constantly shifts between both. Each uses her chosen medium to transmit profound experience in a time of profound uncertainty.