Stellar Exhibitions coming to River Oaks for August and September
As the Dog Days of Summer slowly come to a close and our Summer Arts Studio campers prepare to return to school, River Oaks prepares for another lineup of artists that are equally stellar and renowned in their own right. First off, LSU’s very own Michaelene “Mikey” Walsh with her exhibition titled ‘Small Joys’ will be featured in the Bolton-Davis Gallery.
“Objects in this exhibition have their genesis in my desire to connect with others around our shared, human need to experience joy,” says Walsh. “Encountering or using these objects, ordinary daily life might then feel a bit more extra-ordinary. Since early 2019 my creative work has focused solely on public commissions. Although that has been a wonderful, rewarding experience, I have been eager for a period of self-directed studio time. I am grateful to River Oaks for providing me with the opportunity to explore more personal themes around shared joy and connection.”
Walsh, a graduate of New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred, NY, has taught at several prestigious universities in addition to teaching, demonstrating, and lecturing widely. Currently, Mikey is the Associate Director of the Louisiana State University School of Art. She has been the recipient of two Louisiana Division of the Arts Individual Artist Grants, and her sculptural ceramic work is on permanent display at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and the Cary Saurage Community Arts Center, both in Baton Rouge.
At the same time, Chastity Sayer Smith will present “Changing the Horizons: An Artist’s Journey” in the Galerie des Amis. Smith is a self-taught artist from Alexandria, Louisiana that began painting professionally in 2019. Now a Resident Artist at River Oaks, Smith regularly uses texture and gold accents in her acrylic creations. While many of her pieces are inspired by Louisiana nature and wildlife, she also enjoys painting memorable moments for others.
When she isn’t working behind the easel, Smith can usually be found running, cycling, or spending time with her family. She also loves teaching private art lessons in her studio and leading art workshops at local boutiques. “I love sharing my passion for art with others. I hope to inspire others to use art as a way to express themselves and show who they truly are,” says Smith. Smith has recently taken an interest in mural work, sharing her art with local businesses in Central Louisiana.
Rounding out the exhibition line-up is renowned artist Bob Howell with ‘A Retrospective’ in the Stokes-Harris Gallery. Howell was born in New Orleans in 1947 and, as he tells it, there was never any doubt in his mind, from the age of six or seven years, that he would be an artist, and he proceeded to pursue that goal from an early age. Howell earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he studied with Robert Warrens and Ed Pramuk in painting and John Goodheart and Joe Bova in ceramics.
Howell first became interested in ceramics as a senior in college and needed a studio elective to complete his requirements. “From the first time I touched the clay, squeezing it and forming it, I was hooked,” recalls Howell. “I’ve always liked to do things with my hands, and I guess that fulfilled this need. I also felt as if I’d found my home. I was completely in love with the clay from the first minute.”
Mikey Walsh will also be on hand for a two-day workshop titled ‘Joyful Objects for Daily Life’ on Aug 25th - 10:30am to 4pm & Aug 26th - 10:30am to 3pm. “People throughout time have used clay to create objects that help bring deeper meaning or joy to their daily lives,” says Walsh. “In this workshop, participants will hand-build small clay objects with the intention of bringing more purpose and joy to their own daily rituals or routines.”
Using historic and contemporary examples of ordinary ceramic objects, Mikey will demonstrate hand-building techniques used in constructing small clay forms. In addition, exercises will help participants identify meaningful “daily-use” objects to create using the techniques presented. Integrating the 2-D surface and 3-D forms using texture, surface design or patterns will also be addressed. Students will create work that can be under-glazed and bisque fired by the end of day 2 of the workshop and will be finished with glaze after. The workshop is open to beginner/novice to advanced level participants. Students will be able to work at their own skill level based on the techniques demonstrated.
The exhibitions will be on display August 26- September 24, 2022, with an opening reception scheduled on August 26 from 5-8pm. The opening reception is sponsored by GAEDA, The Dr. Betsy Long Memorial Fund, Rapides Regional Medical Center, Red River Bank, Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, and Captivate Minds Marketing.
For more information on the workshop and any of the upcoming exhibitions, please contact River Oaks at (318) 473-2670, visit RiverOaksArtsCenter.com
or look for River Oaks Arts Center on Facebook and Instagram.